Interim Congress chief Sonia Gandhi has hinted that she does not have any reservations against senior party leader Shashi Tharoor running for Congress president's post, Congress party sources told IANS on Monday, September 19. Sonia Gandhi gave her nod shortly after meeting Tharoor and a few other Congress leaders on her return following a medical check-up abroad.
Tharoor, who was one of the G-23 members of the party who had demanded sweeping reforms in the Congress, is now likely to throw his hat into the ring for the race to the top party post, voting for which will be held on October 17. Senior party leader Jairam Ramesh said, "Anybody who wants to contest is free and welcome to do so. This has been the consistent position of Congress President and Rahul Gandhi. This is an open, democratic and transparent process. Nobody needs anybody's nod to contest.”
Meanwhile, Congress' state units have been passing resolutions to make Rahul Gandhi the next party president, including in Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh, among others. However, Congress' Central Election Authority (CEA) has said that such resolutions will not have any bearing on the election process. Madhusudan Mistry, Chairman of CEA, said, "These resolutions have no bearing on the election process."
While the notification for the Presidential election will be issued on September 22, there is still no official word on the candidates who will contest for the top party post. The G-23 group is gearing up to field Thiruvananthapuram MP Tharoor as its top choice, for party loyalists, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot is the preferred choice, sources said. However, Gehlot is reportedly reluctant to leave the chief ministership and move to Delhi. In that scenario, former Union minister Mukul Wasnik or leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge, could emerge as the front-runners.
The process for filing nominations for the election will be held from September 24 to 30. The last date for withdrawal of nominations is October 8 and the election, if required, will be held on October 17. The results will be out on October 19.