Top Congress leaders from across the country, led by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and party treasurer Motilal Vora, congregated at 10, Janpath on Thursday to file over 55 nomination papers on behalf of Sonia Gandhi, paving the way for her return to the top post in the party for a record fourth time.
General secretary and son Rahul Gandhi flew in from Amethi for a few hours to participate in the nomination process, which was completed with clockwork precision. The results of the election of the party president – though foregone – would be announced on Friday, Congress Election Authority chairman Oscar Fernandes said.
The smooth re-election of Ms. Gandhi was, however, in sharp contrast to the party's organisational election process, still to be completed. Tamil Nadu heads the list, with factionalism behind the State unit's inability to complete the elections. Next comes Jammu and Kashmir, where the volatile political situation in the State has been an obstacle in the electoral process.
In Bihar, party workers, have been too busy working for the Assembly elections later this year to complete the election process; in Andhra Pradesh, the party machinery had been geared up for the 12 by-elections in the Telangana region, where all the Telangana Rashtra Samiti MLAs had resigned en masse eight months ago, following the Centre's acceptance of a separate Telangana state; and in Kerala, the elections have been postponed, because of the upcoming panchayat polls in the State.
Meanwhile, party Chief Ministers including Sheila Dikshit of Delhi, Ashok Gehlot of Rajasthan, Bhupinder Singh Hooda of Haryana, Ashok Chavan of Maharashtra and Ibobi Singh of Manipur also filed nominations on Ms. Gandhi's behalf and submitted them to Mr. Fernandes, who is the returning officer for the poll.