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Amid days of speculation on Shashi Tharoor’s candidature in the Congress Presidential election, it is now confirmed. Shashi Tharoor will contest the election to be the next Congress President as Sonia Gandhi approved his candidature after he reached out to her in a meeting today, citing he can make internal democracy stronger, according to sources quoted by ANI. Apart from Shashi Tharoor, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot would reportedly be filing his nomination to contest for the top Congress post on 26 September.

Shashi Tharoor is likely to announce his candidature in the next few days. In the meeting, Sonia Gandhi welcomed the idea of more people contesting the polls and dispelled the notion that there would be an "official candidate". Sonia Gandhi also said that she would stay “neutral" in the Congress Presidential election.

While it is Shashi Tharoor vs Ashok Gehlot for now, more names are likely to be added in the next few days as the election for the post of Congress President draws closer.

GEHLOT PERSUADING RAGA

However, sources close to Ashok Gehlot said that rather than thinking of running for Congress President, the Rajasthan chief minister is trying to “persuade Rahul Gandhi to do so". “He remains a loyal soldier of Sonia and Rahul Gandhi," they said.

With regard to Shashi Tharoor's meeting with Sonia Gandhi and the speculation over it, the Congress said no one needs a nod to contest the presidential election as it is an open, democratic and transparent process.

“Anybody who wants to contest [for the post of Congress President] is free and welcome to do so. This has been the consistent position of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. This is an open, democratic and transparent process. Nobody needs anybody's nod to contest," Jairam Ramesh told ANI.

The process for filing nominations for the election will be held from September 24 to 30. The last date for withdrawal of nominations is October 8 and the election, if required, will be held on October 17. The results will be out on October 19.

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