After 22 years, contest for Congress prez post today

After 22 years, contest for Congress prez post today

The Opposition Congress is all set to witness a contest for the president post after 22 years on Monday with senior party leaders Mallikarjun Kharge and Shashi Tharoor pitted against each other and this time no member of the Gandhi family is contesting for the post of President.

The voting will be done between 10 am and 4 pm, with the results will be declared on October 19.

For the Congress presidential polls, party leader Rahul Gandhi voted at a Bharat Jodo Yatra campsite in Karnataka’s Ballari while the outgoing interim president, Sonia Gandhi voted at the party headquarters in the national capital.

Congress General Secretary in-charge Jairam Ramesh said, “There’ve been queries on where @RahulGandhi will cast his vote tomorrow for Congress Presidential election. There should be no speculation. He will be voting at the #BharatJodoYatra campsite in Sanganakallu, Ballari along with around 40 other Bharat Yatris who are PCC delegates.”

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will also cast his vote at the party headquarters here.

For the October 17 polls, 67 booths have been set up in all the states, the party’s central election authority (CEA) said.

Madhusudan Mistry, Chairman of the CEA, said, “In AICC also there will be a booth, especially for all the senior leaders, working committee members and all those whose identity card is from a different state but are staying in Delhi. If they write to us that they want to vote in Delhi then we will make arrangements here as well, they can also vote here in AICC.”

A camp booth has been set up for Rahul Gandhi and others who are participating in the Bharat Jodo Yatra.

The vote will be by the secret ballot. All the ballet boxes will be brought to the AICC headquarters here and then, on October 19 the counting of votes will start and the result will be declared as soon as the counting gets over.

Congress Central Election Authority (CEA) Chairman had assured the voters of the secrecy of the ballot.

While issuing standard protocol for the voting till the counting of the votes, Madhusudan Mistry said that there was no numbering on the papers and only counterfoil with detail will be kept with the Election Authority while the ballot boxes will be sealed and unsealed in front of election agents. Ahead of the counting of votes, all the ballot papers will be mixed so that no one would know how many votes the candidate got from a particular state.

“The delegates from all states will vote at their respective polling stations with a ‘tick’ mark for the candidate they support. Arrangements have been made for smooth polling,” said Central Election Authority Chairman of Congress Madhusudan Mistry.

“Ballot boxes will reach Delhi on Oct 18 & counting of votes will be done on October 19. Polling booth set up at AICC as well, where over 50 people will vote. The whole polling process will be fair & free, no doubt about that,’ he added.

It is not the first time that a non-Gandhi leader is contesting for the party presidency post-Independence, Jitendra Prasad contested for the post of president about 22 years ago against Sonia Gandhi in which Sonia emerged as a winner holding the mantle of the party for 20 years.

Sonia Gandhi is the longest-serving president of the party, having held the office for over twenty years from 1998 to 2017 and since 2019.

This is the sixth time in its nearly 137-year-old history that polls will be held to elect the President of the party. In the 2017 elections, Rahul Gandhi became the president unopposed.

“There’s no problem with our ideology but I want to bring a change in our way of work… Mallikarjun Kharge is an experienced leader, if he wins, we’ll work in cooperation naturally,” Congress Presidential candidate Shashi Tharoor said ahead of the polls tomorrow.

Kharge, “It’s my duty to strengthen the org & fight vindictive policies of BJP-RSS, they’re dividing the country on basis of religion; they’re dividing the backwards, scheduled castes, minorities. They see everything through an election point of view.”

“We’ve to fight from parliament to street. It’s difficult as unemployment& inflation are there, GDP growth is falling, value of rupee is going down, petrol-diesel & essential commodities’ prices are going up,’ he added.

More than nine thousand delegates will vote in this election.The state from which the delegate belongs will have to go to the Congress headquarters of that state and vote.

Apart from the Congress headquarters in the states, the voting facilities will also be available at the party’s central headquarters at 24 Akbar Road.

The Statesman

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