Congress president election | Shashi Tharoor set to file papers next week

In the middle of electoral process, Sonia Gandhi meets Anand Sharma

September 24, 2022 03:02 pm | Updated 10:56 pm IST - New Delhi

Senior Congress leader and MP Shashi Tharoor with Congress Central Election Authority Chairman Madhusudan Mistry in New Delhi.

Senior Congress leader and MP Shashi Tharoor with Congress Central Election Authority Chairman Madhusudan Mistry in New Delhi. | Photo Credit: PTI

Shashi Tharoor, Lok Sabha member from Thiruvananthapuram, will file his nomination for the Congress presidential election towards the latter part of next week after mobilising support of delegates from different parts of the country, sources told The Hindu.

On Saturday, the day when the process of filing of nominations started, Mr. Tharoor’s close aide, Aalim Javeri, collected the nomination form from the office of Madhusudan Mistry, who heads the party’s Central Election Authority (CEA).

The developments virtually confirm what The Hindu reported on September 20 that the Congress presidential election would be a contest between Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and Mr. Tharoor, one of the members of the G-23, or the ginger group that has been pushing for internal reforms in the party.

In a significant political move, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi met senior leader Anand Sharma, another prominent G-23 leader, for an hour-long discussion on a range of issues, including the presidential poll and the forthcoming Assembly election in Himachal Pradesh.

The timing of the meeting is important as it comes in the middle of the party’s electoral process. Mr. Sharma was among those leaders who had questioned the process of electing Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) delegates that form the 9,000-strong electoral college to elect the All India Congress Committee (AICC) president.

The Congress is all set to witness a contest after 22 years as the last election took place in November 2000, when Ms. Gandhi defeated Jitendra Prasada. Prior to that, Sitaram Kesri had defeated Rajesh Pilot and Sharad Pawar in 1997.

The Congress has asserted that the election is open to anyone and there is no ‘official’ candidate.

Last Monday, Ms. Gandhi too assured the Gandhi family’s neutrality when Mr. Tharoor called on her last Monday.

A total of 10 PCC delegates are needed to endorse a candidate and such a person can file the nomination. However, the profile of the proposers of a particular candidate will certainly indicate the clout of the candidate.

Sources in the Tharoor camp said they would collect signatures of delegates from across the country before filing the nomination, possibly on September 30, which is the last day of nomination.

Mr. Gehlot is likely to file his nomination on September 27 or 28 once the auspicious period of Navratrra starts on Monday.

While polling will be held on October 17 across all the States and the Union Territories, the counting of votes will be taken up on October 19 in Delhi and the results will be declared the same day.

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