Nomination forms for the post of Congress president poll have been collected by Thiruvananthapuram MP Shashi Tharoor and AICC treasurer Pawan Bansal, but Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has not done so yet, and the party’s central election authority chairman Madhusudan Mistry said on Tuesday.
Gehlot is likely to file his nominations for the polls on September 28, while Tharoor is expected to file his nomination on September 30. The election will be held on October 17, the result of which will be declared on October 19.
Speaking to ANI Mistry said, “We briefed Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi about work done so far regarding Congress president elections. Elections will happen as per schedule. Two people have collected the forms now, which include those for Shashi Tharoor and Pawan Bansal. Bansal took two forms yesterday.”
However, Mistry said that it is unclear if Bansal “took the form for himself or for someone else”.
When asked about the nomination filing of Gehlot, Mistry said, “I don’t have any update. Nobody has contacted me”.
He denied having any information about the possibility of Gehlot’s nomination amid the ongoing political crisis in Rajasthan. While Bansal came to collect the forms himself, Tharoor had sent his representative to collect the forms.
“Five to seven forms have been collected so far by two people,” Mistry said.
This comes amid the political turmoil in Rajasthan recently over the appointment of Gehlot’s successor.
Congress leaders Ajay Maken and Mallikarjun Kharge had visited Rajasthan and said they will submit their observations to Sonia Gandhi over the rebellion by party MLAs in the state over the move to find a successor to Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot.
Yesterday, Maken and Kharge briefed party chief Sonia Gandhi about the developments.
The political crisis has been triggered by Gehlot apparently agreeing to file his nomination in the Congress presidential polls and wanting a successor of his choice in Rajasthan. Meanwhile, sources had earlier said that the status quo will be maintained till the process is over for filing nominations.
However, with the deepening political crisis in Rajasthan, Congress Working Committee members have demanded from Sonia Gandhi to pull the state chief minister out of the race for the party chief and select another candidate for the top post, sources said.
Miffed over the recent political developments in the crisis-hit state and the conduct of the MLAs of the Gehlot camp, the CWC members have registered a complaint against him with the party chief and said, “It would not be good to lay faith in him and give him the responsibility of the party. The party top leadership should reconsider his candidature”.
The members have urged Sonia Gandhi to make another such person a candidate who is a senior leader and also loyal to the Gandhi family.
Notably, the MLAs of the Gehlot camp had not attended the meeting of the Congress legislative party (CLP) scheduled on Sunday evening at the residence of Gehlot in Jaipur the presence of the observers, which was attended by the Sachin Pilot and his camp MLAs.
Gehlot loyalists had held a meeting with Cabinet Minister Shanti Dhariwal at his residence, following which over 90 MLAs had submitted their resignations to Speaker CP Joshi.
With miffed party MLAs unwilling to meet with the observers, sources said that the next step will be decided by observers of the All India Congress Committee (AICC) after a discussion with the party’s high command.