Rahul is sole nominee for post of Congress president

Rahul Gandhi files the nomination for Congress president at the party headquarters in New Delhi on Monday.

Rahul Gandhi files the nomination for Congress president at the party headquarters in New Delhi on Monday.   | Photo Credit: R.V. Moorthy

It is a now only a formality before Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi is elevated as the next president of the Indian National Congress.

Mr Gandhi was the only candidate to file his papers on the last day for nominations for the party's internal polls.

“We will put up the name tomorrow after scrutinising the papers,” said Mullapaly Ramachandran, who heads the Central Election Committee (CEC).

In all, there were 89 sets of nominations filed in favour of Mr Gandhi. But his name as the next President will be officially announced on December 11, after the deadline for withdrawal of names.

His mother Sonia Gandhi and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh were among the leaders who proposed his name for the top party post. However, Ms Gandhi, who is the longest serving party president with 19 years in office, stayed away from Monday's event.

Before signing his nomination papers, the 47-year-old Congress leader went to meet former President Pranab Mukherjee. Photographs released by the Congress party later showed Mr Mukherjee applying a tilak on Mr. Gandhi and blessing him.

At the party headquarters, Mr. Gandhi was seen warmly hugging Congress seniors including former Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, Mohsina Kidwai and Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah.

Accompanied by former prime minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, Sushil Kumar Shinde, Anand Sharma, Siddaramaiah and Jyotiraditya Scindia, Mr. Gandhi filed his nomination exactly at 11a.m.

Mr. Gandhi, who started his political career as a Lok Sabha member in 2004, faces the formidable challenge of reversing his party’s political fortunes.

His immediate challenge is the Assembly election in Gujarat where he has almost single-handedly campaigned for the party.

“Youth of Punjab accepted Congress. So did youth of Goa and Manipur before the elections were stolen by the BJP. Why would the youth of Gujarat not accept Congress?” said former Finance Minister P. Chidamabaram in a tweet.

“If you ask me, I think he will make a very good PM,” said Punjab Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh, who had once openly voiced his reservations about Mr. Gandhi’s leadership abilities. On Monday, Capt. Amarinder was among the dozen leaders who signed Mr. Rahul’s nomination papers.

“He has all our blessings and we have no doubt that he will do well in taking the party foward,” said Ms. Sheila Dikshit.

“We know that there are challenges before the country as we have a government that has failed to deliver and there is assault on democratic traditions and founding principles of the Constitution. Shri Rahul Gandhi will accept the responsibility in continuity of the traditions of the Indian National Congress,” said Congress leader Anand Sharma.

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Printable version | Mar 29, 2020 9:32:16 AM |

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