This week Ashok Gehlot, the current chief minister of Rajasthan emerged as one of the possible candidates for the Congress president’s elections that will be held next month. If confirmed then the Gandhi family supporter will be joining hands with former union minister Shashi Tharoor who is a prominent member of the group of senior leaders who have been questioning Gandhi’s leadership. They want to replace interim boss Sonia Gandhi and give the position to the first non-Gandhi leader in almost 25 years.
According to sources close to the veteran politician, Rahul Gandhi is still Gehlot’s top option. The Rajasthan Congress unit on Saturday passed a resolution encouraging him to run again. Gehlot’s candidacy has not yet been officially announced. He recently also paid Sonia Gandhi a visit in Delhi. On the other hand, Tharoor’s candidacy has been confirmed. Additionally, after signing a petition seeking for party reforms, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala’s Lok Sabha Member of Parliament, saw Sonia Gandhi in Delhi on Monday. She assured him of “fair and transparent” elections and confirmed anyone could submit nominations. Sonia Gandhi “made it very clear that (a) genuine election will be held and anyone who wishes can contest for president,” a senior leader told the press on the condition of anonymity.
The elections for Congress president are going to be held on October 17 and the result will be announced two days after that. The possibility that Gehlot would run has complicated Tharoor’s road to the presidency. As he is a devoted Gandhi supporter and has always protected Rahul Gandhi and the family from criticism. This includes actions taken by members of the party as well.
On September 22, nominations for the elections did begin. The Congress presidential elections will take place amid a controversial environment, given the several senior officials who have left the party in the last year, as well as the fact that the party has lost numerous elections despite warnings from critics.