New Delhi, Sep 22: Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi has reportedly told Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, who is a frontrunner for the party’s top post, that she will not give her personal approval to any candidate.
Gehlot met Congress chief Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday, hours after he indicated that he may enter the AICC presidential poll fray.
During the meeting, Sonia Gandhi is learnt to have told the Rajasthan Chief Minister that the election for party chief will be “free and fair” and she will not endorse any name, sources told news agency ANI.
The interim president has also conveyed that the issue of “one person, one post” will come if the candidate is decided and gets elected. On his turn, Gehlot told Gandhi that he is open for any role in the party.
“The party has given me everything, the high command has given everything. For the last 40-50 years, I have been in various party positions. No post is important for me, what is important for me is how would I handle whatever responsibility is given to me,” Gehlot told the reporters after the meeting, according to a Hindustan Times report.
Nonetheless, he will make a last-ditch effort to convince Rahul Gandhi to take up the party president’s post. Gehlot said he will take decisions with which the Congress is strengthened.
On Tuesday, Gehlot had told the Congress MLAs in Rajasthan that they will be asked to come to New Delhi if he decides to file his nomination for the party’s presidential election. The meeting between Gehlot and Sonia Gandhi comes just a day before the Congress’s central election authority would issue a notification for the All India Congress Committee (AICC) presidential poll.
After more than two decades, the Congress is likely to see a contest for the post of its chief, with Shashi Tharoor looking set to enter the fray after his meeting with Sonia Gandhi and Gehlot indicating that he will throw his hat in the ring if Rahul Gandhi does not agree to take on the party’s reins.
The process of filing nominations for the election will be held from September 24 to September 30. The date for a scrutiny of the nomination papers would be October 1, while the last date for withdrawal of nominations would be October 8. The election, if there is more than one candidate, will be held on October 17, while the counting of votes, if necessary, and the declaration of results would be on October 19.