A host of party heavyweights will be present when Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi files his nomination for the party chief’s post at its headquarters on Monday, with over 90 sets of nomination papers likely to be filed to support his candidature.
Six Chief Ministers — Punjab’s Amarinder Singh, Karnataka’s Siddaramaiah, Himachal Pradesh’s Virbhadra Singh, Puducherry’s V. Narayanasamy, Meghalaya’s Mukul Sangma and Mizoram’s Lal Thanhawla — are expected to be present when over 90 sets of nomination papers are likely to be filed by various leaders to extend support to Rahul Gandhi’s candidature.
Congress state unit chiefs, senior leaders, and Pradesh Congress Committee delegates will be present at the party’s central office to express support to Rahul Gandhi ahead of his much-awaited elevation.
The Congress Vice President is likely to reach the party headquarters around 10.30 a.m. to file his nomination. He will sign sets of nomination papers to be filed before the Returning Officer.
Mullappally Ramachandran, the Returning Officer for the organisational election, told IANS that 90 nomination forms were taken by different states though not one has been submitted so far.
The process of nominations started on Friday. The last date for filing nominations is December 4.
Reacting to criticism over the election process, Congress Spokesperson Sushmita Dev told the media: “All I want to say is that it is happening under Election Commission supervision. When we talk about electoral democracy, I wish to say, we conduct (internal) elections while adhering to Election Commission rules. It is being done with full transparency. We have not violated any rules.”
She said if someone was raising questions, what was the basis for which they were doing so. “I won’t be able to comment on it. Only those who have raised the issue can explain.”
On Sunday, many senior Congress leaders, its members of Parliament and PCC chiefs arrived at the party headquarters to sign the papers, including Sachin Pilot, Kapil Sibal, Rajeev Shukla, P.C. Chacko, Shobha Oza, Hamdulla Sayeed and others.
Apart from states and union territories, senior leaders on the Congress Working Committee (CWC), including former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, A.K. Antony, Ahmed Patel and Ghulam Nabi Azad are likely to submit different sets of nomination papers.
The elevation of Rahul Gandhi, who is presently spearheading the Congress campaign ahead of the December 9 and 14 Gujarat assembly polls, has been much talked about in party circles for around two years.
With Rahul Gandhi in all likelihood to be the only candidate in the fray, he could be declared the next Congress chief on December 5 after scrutiny of nominations.
He will succeed his mother Sonia Gandhi, the longest-serving Congress chief who has helmed the party since 1998.
Rahul Gandhi became the Congress Vice President in January 2013.