Thursday, March 30, 2023

Cong may get a non-Gandhi president by Sept

As the countdown began for the election of Congress president, the party’s election authority on Sunday said it would stick to the schedule of electing a new chief by September 20.
Chairman of the party’s Central Election Authority Madhusudan Mistry said it was up to the Congress Working Committee (CWC) to approve the final date for the election, which could be any day between August 21 to September 20.
However, sections in the party did not rule out delay in the internal poll process, considering the reluctance of Rahul Gandhi in contesting for the top post and the current focus of the Congress on organising ‘Bharat Jodo yatra’ next month. The CWC had decided to hold elections for the top post between August 21 and September 20.
“We will stick to the schedule. We have already forwarded the election schedule to the party leadership and are awaiting a nod from the CWC which will fix the final dates for the Congress president’s election,” Mistry told PTI.
Mistry said the Election Authority is in the process of finalising the AICC delegates who will vote in the crucial election for the top party post. “The exact date will be finalised by the Working Committee,” he said, adding that a meeting of the party’s top decision-making body will be held soon. Even as Mistry insisted that the election authority would stick to the poll schedule, the party appeared in the dark on potential candidates for the key race.
Many names are doing the rounds like party loyalists Ambika Soni, Mukul Wasnik and Kumari Selja. Some people are also floating the name of Priyanka Gandhi, but there is no clarity since she is looking after the tough assignment of Uttar Pradesh, where the party performance is near zero. Also, the Congress, in the interim, is chalking out plan B to continue Sonia Gandhi as party chief and appoint a working president for each zone.
Another name doing rounds is that of Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot and Chhattisgarh chief minister Bhupesh Baghel, who is also under active consideration. But Gehlot has reportedly denied the top post.
However, some sections in the party did not rule out delay in the internal poll process owing to the reluctance of Rahul Gandhi to contest.
Leaders added that the focus of the party is also on ‘Bharat Jodo yatra’ which is to commence on September 7, with Rahul Gandhi expected to flag the event from Kanyakumari.
It is, meanwhile, learnt that the G-23 is keeping a close watch at the election process and its transparency.
The grouping comprising prominent veterans, including former Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad and his deputy Anand Sharma, besides Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Manish Tewari, has been insisting on genuine elections right from the block up to the CWC level.


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