New Delhi, September 23
The Congress will have a non-Gandhi president for the first time in 25 years, with Rahul Gandhi conveying to Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot that no-one from his family would run for the Congress president’s election.
“I will contest for the post, that is certain,” Gehlot said, as he left for Shirdi from Kochi, to pay obeisance at the temple of Sai Baba before filing his papers in New Delhi any time after September 26.
Gehlot said Rahul had conveyed to him that he would not contest and none from the Gandhi family would.
Rahul told Gehlot that he favoured a non-Gandhi Congress president.
“Rahul Gandhi had told the CWC in 2019 that he would work without a post. He would do whatever the party said. He said he still stood his ground and would work for the Congress with all his strength. I will contest. This is certain," Gehlot said on Friday.
The Tribune was the first to report on Wednesday that the Congress was likely to get a non-Gandhi chief after 25 years.
The last non-Gandhi Congress president was Sitaram Kesri who defeated Sharad Pawar and Rajesh Pilot in 1997.
He was ousted by the CWC through a resolution that invited Sonia Gandhi to assume the office. She was formally elected Congress chief in 1998, and continues to be the longest serving chief barring a break in 2017-2019 when her son Rahul took charge. Rahul resigned in 2019 leading to the return of Sonia Gandhi as interim party president.
The Tribune has learnt that Chairman of Central Election Authority Madhusudan Mistry will not be in Delhi on September 26 and has conveyed this to both Gehlot and another contender Shashi Tharoor as the two might like to file their papers in his presence though a team of returning officers has also been readied should anyone wish to file their papers in Mistry's absence.
The nomination starts on September 24 and ends on September 30. The last date for withdrawals is October 8.
The election is on October 17 and the result will be declared on October 19.
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