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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 May, 2004, 15:57 GMT 16:57 UK
In quotes: Gandhi declines post
India's Congress party leader Sonia Gandhi says she will not become prime minister, despite her surprise election win. Here are the key quotes from her speech to the party:

"I have decided to listen to my inner voice and humbly decline the post...

Sonia Gandhi
Italian-born Sonia Gandhi said she had faced no threat from anyone

"I must abide by the principles that have guided me all along...

"I appeal to you to understand the force of my conviction...

"There is no threat to me from anyone...

"Our foremost responsibility at this time is to provide a stable and secular government..

"You have given me your generous support, you have struggled for me, and as one of you and as president of the Congress party I pledge myself to work with you...

"My resolve will in fact be to fight for our vision and our ideals...

"My goal is not the prime minister's position: it was always clear in my mind that if there was ever a situation like today then I would listen to my inner voice and today my inner voice says I must humbly decline this post...

"You have unanimously chosen me your leader. You have put your trust in me - and this made me consider my decision to some extent - but I must follow the principles of those who have shown me the way...

"I never wanted to be the prime minister and that was never my intention...

"I always wanted to strengthen the secular fabric of India and look after the poor in my country. This was always the goal ...

" I request you to accept this decision of mine and understand that I will not change it...

"You have always supported me and always fought with me and for me. I am one of you and with other party members, and I will always work for the country with you...

"My aim is to give a strong and secular government...

"Thank you and Jai Hind."





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