Congress president election on Oct 17; filing of nominations from Sept 24

The schedule of the election was approved at an online meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC) presided over by Sonia Gandhi on Sunday

Congress president election on Oct 17; filing of nominations from Sept 24

NH Web Desk

The Congress on Sunday announced that elections for its president will be held on October 17 and the results will be announced two days later.

Sonia Gandhi is the longest serving party president and has been at the helm since 1998 barring a two-year period between 2017-19 when Rahul Gandhi took over.

The schedule of the election was approved unanimously at an online meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC) on Sunday. The online CWC meeting was presided over by Sonia Gandhi, who is abroad for medical check-up. She was seen flanked by former party chief Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who are accompanying her abroad.

The notification for the election will be issued on September 22, while the filing of nomination would begin on September 24 and continue till September 30, the party's central election authority chairman Madhusudan Mistry told reporters after the CWC meeting.

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, while counting of votes, if necessary, and the counting of votes and the declaration of results would be on October 19, Mistry said.

"The election schedule that was put forward by Mistry, all CWC members unanimously approved it without raising any questions or demanding an extension of dates," the party's general secretary Jairam Ramesh said.

The Congress had announced in October last year that the election of the new party president will be held between August 21 and September 20 this year.

Sources had said earlier said that the election of the Congress president is likely to be delayed by a few weeks with the party focused on the Kanyakumari to Kashmir 'Bharat Jodo Yatra' starting September 7 and some state units not completing formalities.

"Congress is the only party in which elections at various levels and especially for the post of the president have taken place, will take place and keep taking place," Ramesh said.

Notably, there are no proper ‘elections’ in the BJP for any post and the BJP president used to be appointed by the RSS before PM Narendra Modi centralised the whole power in his hands. No woman has ever been a BJP president since its inception in 1980.

Addressing the press conference along with Mistry and Ramesh, AICC general secretary organisation K C Venugopal said the CWC reiterated its resolve to make the Mehangai Par Halla Bol rally in New Delhi on September 4th and the launch of the Bharat Jodo Yatra from Kanyakumari on September 7th and its continuation thereafter a resounding success.

The CWC extended its best wishes to Congress President Sonia Gandhi for a full and speedy recovery, he said.

Asked about leaders being busy with Bharat Jodo Yatra and if voting for them would be an issue, Venugopal said arrangements would be made to ensure that all delegates can cast their votes without any problem.

Among those present at the meeting were Anand Sharma, former prime minister Manmohan Singh, party's central election authority chairman Madhusudan Mistry, K C Venugopal, former union ministers Jairam Ramesh, Mukul Wasnik and P Chidambaram and Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot along with his Chhattisgarh counterpart Bhupesh Baghel.

The meeting comes amid several leaders, including Gehlot, having publicly exhorted Rahul Gandhi to return as the party chief.

Gehlot on Wednesday had sought to play down reports about him being the frontrunner for the Congress president's post and said efforts will be made till the last minute to persuade Rahul Gandhi to take over the reins of the party again.

Rahul Gandhi had resigned as Congress president after the party suffered its second consecutive defeat in parliamentary elections in 2019.

Sonia Gandhi who took over the reins of the party again as interim president had also offered to quit in August 2020 after an open revolt by a section of leaders, referred to as G-23, but the CWC had urged her to continue.

In the last election in 2000, Jitendra Prasada had lost to Sonia Gandhi. Before that Sitaram Kesri had defeated Sharad Pawar and Rajesh Pilot in 1997.

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