Thu, 22 Sep 2022 11:00 AM IST
The Congress on Thursday issued a notification for the much-awaited AICC president polls for electing the successor to the longest-serving party president Sonia Gandhi. The process for filing nominations for the election will be held from September 24 to 30.
The date of scrutiny of the nomination papers would be October 1, while the last date of withdrawal of nominations would be October 8. The election, if there is more than one candidate, will take place on October 17. The counting of votes and the declaration of results would be on October 19.
The race for the Congress president's post hotted up with Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot clearly indicating that he could enter the poll fray and Congress leader Shashi Tharoor meeting the party's poll panel chief to enquire about the nomination formalities.
Ashok Gehlot meets Sonia Gandhi:
Amid massive buzz for presidential polls, Gehlot met Congress chief Sonia Gandhi here on Wednesday, hours after he indicated that he could enter the poll fray. He also hinted that he would like to continue as the chief minister but suspense persisted over whether he would stay on or get a person of his choice to helm the Rajasthan government, or the post would go to his bete noire Sachin Pilot.
On whether keeping both posts of the chief minister and party president could violate the party's pledge of 'one person, one post' taken at Udaipur, Gehlot said that it applied when the high command nominates people.
He noted that the AICC president polls were an open election and anybody among the 9,000 Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) delegates, irrespective of whether that person is an MP, MLA or minister, can contest.
Citing an example, he said if a minister in a state stands for Congress president election and becomes party president, that person can also stay as minister.
Responding to another question on whether he would stay on as chief mininster, Gehlot said, "Wherever I stay in one post, 2 post, 3 post or nowhere, I don't mind, my wish will be to enter the field, tour with Rahul Gandhi ji, go on the yatra, call upon the people to hit the streets and open a front against these fascist people."
Asked whether 'one person, one post' formula could apply in the polls, the party's central election authority chairman Madhusudan Mistry told PTI that being on a post does not stop anyone from contesting polls and the party constitution states that any delegate can fight the elections.
Shashi Tharoor meets Sonia Gandhi:
Congress leader Shashi Tharoor who also is set to contest the polls, met the party's interim president Sonia Gandhi at her 10 Janpath Road residence on Monday. He also met party central election authority chief Mistry at the AICC headquarters.
Sources said that Mistry assured Tharoor that the election would be free, fair and open. Asked about the meeting, Mistry told PTI that he cleared his enquiry on the voters' list, election agent and the filing of nomination.
"He (Tharoor) will be sending a person on (Sep) 24th to collect the (nomination) forms. He was satisfied," Mistry said. The meeting was mainly about queries on formalities for filing of nomination, he said.
Meanwhile, the Congress' state units in Punjab and Telangana on Wednesday passed a resolution backing Rahul Gandhi for the post of the party president. Over a dozen PCCs have so far come out in support of Gandhi.