Filing of nominations for the post of Congress president is scheduled to begin today with a contest between Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot and former union minister Shashi Tharoor on the cards.
The nominations will be filed till September 30 and results declaring the new Congress chief will be announced on October 19.
This will be the first time in 25 years that Congress will see a non-Gandhi chief after Sonia Gandhi replaced Sitaraman Kesri as party chief in 1998. The last time the party had a non-Gandhi chief was in 1997 when Sitaram Kesri defeated Sharad Pawar and Rajesh Pilot
Chairman of Central Election Authority Madhusudan Mistri will be available in Congress headquarters in the national capital to take the nomination papers as returning officer of the election.
Yesterday, Rajasthan chief minister Gehlot made it clear that there will be no candidate from the Gandhi family this time.
Speaking to ANI Gehlot said, "I have requested him (Congress MP Rahul Gandhi) multiple times to accept everyone's proposal of becoming the Congress President. He clarified that no one from the Gandhi family should become the next chief."
Gehlot further said, "It's decided that I'll contest (for the post of Congress President). I'll fix the date soon (to file his nomination). It's a need for the Opposition to be strong, looking at the current position of the country.
Earlier, after meeting Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi, former CM of Haryana Bhupinder Singh Hooda said, "In our meeting today, we spoke about the party and how to strengthen it. She said that she has a neutral stand regarding the congress president election."
Till now, Gehlot has made it clear publically that he will contest the elections, while another name that is most likely to give him a contest is Shashi Tharoor who is also in the fray and had met Madhusudan Mistri.
Sources close to former union minister Manish Tewari had also said that he is also considering the possibility of contesting the polls.
The crux of the story that emerges is that the Congress party is all set to witness a tripartite or more contest.
Earlier, Madhusudan Mistri said that more than 9,000 delegates will be voting in the polls. Anybody can contest and 10 delegates will be needed to support his or her candidature. The last date for filing nomination is September 30. (ANI)