Shashi Tharoor and Pawan Bansal have collected nomination forms for the October 17 Congress president polls, a top party leader said today.
Shashi Tharoor has collected seven forms while Pawan Bansal has taken two, said senior Congress leader Madhusudan Mistry, who is overseeing the elections.
Mr Bansal denied that he is running for Congress president. “This thought did not cross my mind,” he stressed.
Mr Tharoor is likely to file his nomination on September 30 (Friday).
There is no word so far on Ashok Gehlot’s nomination, Mr Mistry told NDTV.
Ashok Gehlot was said to be the top choice of the leadership to take over as the Congress’s first non-Gandhi president in over 20 years.
That is, until he upset the Gandhis with a mass protest and resignation threat by MLAs loyal to him in Rajasthan. Mr Gehlot, 71, had suggested to his party that he could handle a double role in the party and keep the Chief Minister’s chair in Rajasthan even if he became Congress president. Rahul Gandhi nixed that plan in public, asserting that the party would strictly follow a “one person, one post” policy.
Mr Gehlot accepted this and said he would quit as Chief Minister. On Sunday, however, 90-plus MLAs loyal to him skipped a meeting with central leaders Mallikarjun Kharge and Ajay Maken and threatened mass resignations if Sachin Pilot replaced Mr Gehlot as Chief Minister.
Mr Gehlot is likely to meet with Sonia Gandhi soon.
“I have briefed Sonia Gandhi about the election process and have handed over a list of voters,” Mr Mistry told NDTV.
The new Congress president will be announced on October 19, two days after the election.