In the midst of chaotic floors in the house of the Congress party over the election of the president, the Gandhis' notion to step aside from the race, and the latest upheaval in the party after the exit of its veteran leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, the high command has announced a new date for the election for the top post and the new schedule defers the poll to nearly a month than the preceding date.
On Sunday - August 28, the Congress party announced that the election for the president will be held on October 17 and the winner will be declared two days later. Earlier, the election date was fixed as September 21 and after announcing the latest schedule, Congress has asserted that it is the only party in the country which undertakes such a democratic exercise. The latest schedule for the election of the president was unanimously approved at the virtual meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC) that was held on Sunday.
The meeting was presided over by Sonia Gandhi, who is abroad for medical checkups. She was joined by Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi and the party announced that the notification for the election will be issued on September 22, while the filing of nominations would begin on September 24 and continue till September 30. Later, the date of scrutiny of nominations would be October 1 and the last date of withdrawal of nominations would be October 8.
The election will be held on October 17 if there is more than one candidate. The votes would be counted and the results would be declared on October 19. The dates were announced by the party's central election authority chairman Madhusudan Mistry, who was addressing the reporters after the CWC meeting. Congress General Secretary and spokesperson said, "The election schedule that was put forward by Mistry, all CWC members unanimously approved it without raising any questions or demanding an extension of dates."
"Congress is the only party in which elections at various levels and especially for the post of the president have taken place, will take place and keep taking place", Ramesh added. It has been reported that the major reason why the party has delayed the election for the top post is its focus on the Bharat Jodo Yatra, which will begin on September 7 and will be organized from Kanyakumari to Kashmir.
As Rahul Gandhi has announced he will not be contesting in the election for the post of president, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has been the front runner for the post with Sonia Gandhi personally requesting him to take the baton. However, Gehlot has also been pitching Rahul Gandhi to return as the party chief. Several senior leaders have said that Rahul Gandhi is affirmed that he will not be the president of the Congress party.
The election for the post of President was lastly held in the party in November 2000 and Sonia Gandhi is the longest-serving party president. She has been reigning the party since 1998 barring 2017-19 when Rahul Gandhi served as the president. Rahul Gandhi resigned as Congress president after the party suffered its second consecutive defeat in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. Following his resignation, Sonia Gandhi has become the interim president and due to her health conditions, she is unlikely to run in the election this time due to which she asked Gehlot to take over the leadership.