Congress president to be elected via fair process, says party election authority chief Madhusudan Mistry

G-23 leaders Anand Sharma, Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Prithviraj Chavan discuss polls, call on Ghulam Nabi Azad

August 30, 2022 07:37 pm | Updated August 31, 2022 07:16 am IST - New Delhi

Congress MP Madhusudan Mistry. File

Congress MP Madhusudan Mistry. File | Photo Credit: V. Sudershan

Rejecting former senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad’s allegation that the Congress’s presidential polls are a farce, the party’s central election authority chief Madhusudan Mistry told The Hindu on Tuesday that there should not be any doubt in anyone’s mind about the fairness of the electoral process.

Senior leaders like Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Anand Sharma and Prithviraj Chavan, who have been members of G-23 or the ginger group that has been pushing for an elected Congress Working Committee (CWC) besides an elected party chief, informally met to discuss the upcoming presidential elections and later called on Mr. Azad, who quit the Congress last week.

The Congress also reacted to news reports that Lok Sabha member Shashi Tharoor could be one of the contestants for the presidential polls, and party spokesperson Gourav Vallabh said, “It is not like the BJP, where 1.5 people appoint a 0.5 person as president.”

On August 28, the CWC had decided that the election to the post of Congress president will take place on October 17, and if there are multiple candidates, the counting will take place on October 19.

Though the electoral process will officially start from September 22 with the notification of the elections, the party’s central election authority has started informing the Pradesh Congress Committees (PCC) about the election process as well as sent the pro forma of the election form that aspiring presidential candidates need to fill up.

“With due respect to Mr. Azad, I dismiss his allegation that the elections are bogus. Let there be no doubt in anyone’s mind about the fairness of the process,” Mr. Mistry said.

Asked to respond to the complaint, made by Mr. Sharma at last Sunday’s CWC meeting, that many State-level leaders were not aware about the list of delegates that make up the 9,000-member strong electoral college, Mr. Mistry said the list will be available at the PCCs.

“The list is not made public but if a member of our party wants to check, they can check at the PCC office. And, of course, it will be given to the candidates once they file their nomination papers,” Mr. Mistry said.

The head of the Congress poll panel also informed that if there are multiple candidates, then voting will take place in every State unit or PCC and the process of counting will take place in Delhi.

“We have made arrangements for voting in all the PCCs and later, the ballot boxes will be brought to Delhi,” Mr. Mistry said.

Meanwhile, commenting on the prospect of Mr. Tharoor being a candidate against a nominee backed by the Gandhi family, party spokesperson Mr. Vallabh said, “In election schedule, we had given the dates for filing nomination, result, counting. All the dates are mentioned in the election schedule, so if anybody wants to do that, the dates are there.”

Mr. Vallabh also attacked Mr. Azad and asked why the “divine knowledge” had not dawned upon him before 2021, when his [Mr. Azad’s] “Rajya Sabha seat and bungalow were safe”.

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