04 December,New Delhi
Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi on Monday filed his nomination for the post of party president, paving the way for his elevation to the top post. Rahul filed his papers on the last date. A total of 89 nominations were filed on the last day of filing of nominations.
Addressing a joint press conference, Chairman of the Central Election Authority Committee Mullapalli Ramachandran and members Madhusudan Mistry and Bhubaneswar Kalita said,”a total of 89 nominations were filed on the last day of filing of nominations. A total of 890 delegated have signed the nomination papers.”One nomination paper needs to be supported by sign of ten delegates.
Ramachandran and Mistry, however, declined to disclose as to whether all these sets of papers were filed for Gandhi alone or there were other candidates too.”This will be known only after the scrutiny of nomination papers tomorrow,” Ramachandran said.
Though the final list of the candidates who have filed nominations will be known only on Tuesday evening, party sources said that all the 89 nomination papers were filed on behalf of the Congress Vice President, paving the way for his election to the top post of the party.
Asked if in case Rahul is the only candidate to have filed nominations, he would be declared elected as the party president tomorrow, Ramachandran and Mistry said that,”even if no other candidate has come to contest the election, the formal declaration of Gandhi as elected unopposed to the post would have to wait till December 11, the last date for withdrawal of nominations.”
Polling, if necessary, is to be held on December 16, according to the schedule announced last month, while the counting of votes and the declaration of results will be held on December 19.
Party sources said that the first set of nominations for election of Rahul as party president was signed by senior leaders like former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Sushil Kumar Shinde, Oscar Fernandes, Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad and Deputy Leader of the Congress in the Rajya Sabha Anand Sharma and senior party leaders Kamal Nath, Sheila Dikshit, Motilal Vora and Tarun Gogoi.
As Rahul Gandhi arrived at the Congress headquarters at 24 Akbar Road for filing his nomination, he was accompanied by a host of senior leaders including Ahmed Patel, Sheila Dikshit, Sushil Kumar Shinde, Jyotiraditya Scindia among others. Ahead of the filing of nomination by Rahul, the party headquarters was a hub of activity with senior party leaders arriving to file nomination for Rahul’s election as party president.
Senior party leaders said his elevation to the post of party president would bring good tidings for the party.Shortly after Rahul filed his nomination papers, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh expressed confidence that he would carry forward the great traditions of the Congress party.
“Rahul-ji is a darling of the Congress and has filed his papers today. This is another step in his quest for serving the people of the nation through the Congress party.””Sonia Gandhi-ji has served the party for the last 19 yearsRahul Gandhi-ji will carry on the great traditions of the Congress party,” he added.
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said that Rahul would make a very good Prime Minister. Hailing the nomination, senior party leader Anand Sharma said it was a conscious and considered decision of the party. “In January, 2013, Gandhi was elected the party Vice President in Jaipur, now he was chosen for the party’s top post unanimously,” he maintained.
He said all senior leaders and PCCs have signed for the nomination process. He rubbished the BJP charge that there was no democracy in the Congress.
Punjab Tourism and Cultural Affairs Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu told reporters they have trust where there was character. ”When senior leaders like Dr Manmohan Singh and P Chidambaram were there, and there were a lot of problems, then Gandhi soaked in all the pressure. He is a mature person who had gone through all the pressures of life and emerged a winner. He had power but he never misused it. It’s Congress good luck that he is ready to take party reins.” Sidhu said and decribed him as ”Babbar Sher”.
Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said, ”No other family in the history has given so many sacrifices pre-post Independence. Rahul’s father and grandmother have sacrificed their lives for the country.”Without naming the party (BJP), he said the party was accusing them of non-democratic ways but it has no such significant history and they have made no contribution towards country’s Independence. He also alleged that the party was depending more on machines than people, in a veiled attack over use of EVMs.
He said Gandhi was a able leader and Congress will be back.Senior leader Rajeev Shukla told reporters at the party headquarters that support was pouring in from party workers spread all over the country, adding that Gandhi could have become prime minister of the country but he has no greed for the post.Mr Jitin Prasad said Gandhi has earned this position after working as General Secretary and then as party vice-president.
Party Veteran Oscar Fernandes also repeated the same, adding that earlier, he had refused to become Prime Minister.Former Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said, ”It will be a dream come true for the Congress. We have waited for a long time. Under his able leadership, Congress will emerge stronger as Rahul Gandhi is the leader of today. ”
Senior Congress leader Mohsina Kidwai said a total 65 per cent of the country’s population was young and they want a young leader. She alleged that the BJP was fighting elections over non-important issues while the Congress has always stuck to its manifesto in the past and delivered on its promises.
On the occasion, party leaders slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s comparison of the Congress president’s election to Mughal rule.
Addressing an election rally in Gujarat, the PM said, ”Mani Shankar Aiyar said that ‘did elections happen during Mughal rule? After Jehangir, Shahjahan came, was any election held? After Shahjahan it was understood Aurangzeb will be the leader’. So Congress accepts it’s a family party? We don’t want this Aurangzeb rule.””I congratulate the Congress on their Aurangzeb Raj. For us, the well being of the people matters and 125 crore Indians are our high command.”
Sharply reacting to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remarks, Congress leaders charged Modi of lowering the dignity of the PM’s post due to his frustration over the BJP’s “certain” defeat in Gujarat.The Congress also said that the PM was suffering from ‘Rahul phobia’. AICC media incharge Randeep Surjewala said, ”why is the PM gripped with Rahul Phobia. Why is so frustrated that he has lowered the dignity of his post through such comments.”
The remarks by the PM reflect his frustration over the certain defeat of the BJP in the Gujarat assembly elections. Before commenting on the internal democracy of the Congress party, he should tell the country as to who decided on the name of Mr Amit Shah for the post of BJP president.”
”To the PM, we want to say that no matter how low level to which you stoop, the Congress will continue to maintain its grace and dignity. It is sad that on the occasion of celebration for the Congress party, the PM should stoop to such lows in a bid to win the Gujarat assembly elections,”Mr Surjewala said.Reacting to the PM’s comments, Mr Mani Shankar Aiyar said, ”Don’t compare the Congress president election with the Mughal rule. During Mughal rule it was understood that after Jehangir, Shahjahan will be the leader but here anyone is free to contest against Rahul Gandhi. It a totally democratic process.”
Reacting to the PM’s remarks, senior Congress leader Kamal Nath said, ”this shows the level to which the PM is willing to stoop to win the Assembly elections in Gujarat.”Senior party leader and Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanswamy said it was PM Modi who was acting like Aurangzeb. ”It is PM Modi who is behaving like Aurangzeb. He has destroyed the economy through his decisions like Demonetisation,” Narayanswamy said.
Surjewala on Sunday had taken a jibe at the statements made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi praising Shahzad Poonawala. He had questioned the silence of the PM on the remarks made by Arun Shourie and BJP leaders Yashwant Sinha and Shatrughan Sinha.
In a series of tweets, AICC media Incharge Randeep Surjewala, referring to PM praising Shahzad Poonawala for his statements in which he had recently questioned the process of electing the president of the Congress party, took potshots at the ‘internal democracy ‘ within the BJP and attacked PM Modi and BJP president Amit Shah for sidelining leaders like LK Advani, Keshubhai Patel, Hiren Pandya, Kanshiram Rana, Anandiben Patel, Murli Manohar Joshi and Sanjay Joshi.”Dear PM, your love for ‘Shahzad’,’Shah-Zada’ and ‘Shaurya’ is now well known, but ‘Nation wants to know’ when will you reply to the questions raised by Sr BJP leaders, ‘Shourie'(Arun), Sinha (Yashwant) and Sinha (Shatrughan).
Blinded by rage and enmity, what unimaginable depths would you fall to?”Modiji, do tell Gujarat and the country about the victims of yours & Amit Shah’s ‘internal democracy’ in BJP, namely — LK Advani, Keshubhai Patel, Hiren Pandya, Kanshiram Rana, Anandiben Patel, Murli Manohar Joshi, Sanjay Joshi, who were compulsorily lost in pages of history,” he asked.The Prime Minister had on Sunday applauded the rebel Congress leader Shehzad Poonawalla for his “bravery” and questioned the democratic set up within the Congress during an election rally in Gujarat.
The PM accused the Congress of trying to muzzle the voice of senior rebel leader Shehzad Poonawalla who had recently questioned the process of electing the president of the Congress party.”A youngster Shehzad has exposed the rigging that is taking place in the Congress President Poll. And Shehzad is a senior Congress leader in Maharashtra. Congress has tried to muzzle his voice and wants to even remove him from their social media groups. What tolerance is this,” he asked while addressing an election rally in Gujarat’s Surendranagar.
Earlier in the day, the Congress vice president visited the residences of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and former President Pranab Mukherjee to seek their blessing before filing nomination.The process of election to the post of Congress President kick-started on December 1 with the issuance of notification.
The schedule for the election of the Congress president was approved on November 20 by the Congress Working Committee, the highest decision making body of the party.Decks have thus been cleared for electing Gandhi as the new Congress president, succeeding his mother Sonia Gandhi, who has held the post for 19 years.