Process for reelecting Sonia as Cong President set in motion

Process for reelecting Sonia as Cong President set in motion

New Delhi: The process of re-election of Sonia Gandhi as Congress president was set in motion on Thursday with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Rahul Gandhi besides several prominent party leaders proposing her name for the top post.

The leaders who proposed her name included party chief ministers, including Sheila Dikshit of Delhi, Ashok Gehlot of Rajasthan and Bhupinder Singh Hooda of Haryana, as also several senior leaders and ministers.

The nominations were submitted to chairman of the party’s Central Election Authority Oscar Fernandes, who is the returning officer for the poll.

Earlier, Singh, Rahul and senior leader Pranab Mukherjee met the Congress president at her 10-Janpath residence and took her consent for candidature.

Union Minister R P N Singh said that the party believes in democratic process and the election for the post of Congress president is taking that process forward.

“Gandhi has taken the reins of the party when it was in the decline. It has been a great journey for Congress since then," he told reporters.

Thursday is the last date for filing nominations and 63-year-old Gandhi’s unanimous re-election to the top party post seems to be a mere formality. The election process was set in motion last week with the issue of the notification.

Gandhi has created a record for the longest tenure as Congress chief by steering the party since April 1998 when she replaced the late Sitaram Kesri.

Only once she had to face a contest with senior leader Jitendra Prasada throwing his hat in the ring a decade back but she had defeated him.

As per the election schedule, scrutiny of nominations will be held on 3 September, last date of withdrawal is 10 September, and date of polls, if necessary, is 17 September.

Counting of votes will be held on 21 September. This is also the schedule for the election of the PCC presidents in various states.

Electoral college for the Congress President’s election comprises 7,946 PCC delegates.