Will Congress be Gandhi-mukt after almost quarter of a century? Last non-Gandhi party chief was Sitaram Kesri in 1998

Sonia Gandhi during a meeting with party MP Shashi Tharoor said that genuine elections will be held and that anyone is free to contest the Congress presidential poll

FP Staff September 20, 2022 15:49:52 IST
Will Congress be Gandhi-mukt after almost quarter of a century? Last non-Gandhi party chief was Sitaram Kesri in 1998

Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi.

New Delhi: Will the next Congress President be from the Gandhi family is the pertinent question among people ahead of the 17 October polls. Amid this, sources to CNN News18 have confirmed that Sonia Gandhi has said that Gandhis and Congress will not put out any official candidate.

In a detailed statement on Monday, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh had said that no approvals have been given and no nod has been sought and anyone wants to contest the Congress Presidential election has the right to do so.

Meanwhile, Gandhis and particularly Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi have apparently made it clear to all those who have met her over the last few days that “there is going to be no such thing as official Congress candidate” and that she would not put forward anyone’s name for the Congress president post.

Sonia has said that she would act in a neutral manner.

Even Ashok Gehlot should not be seen as Congress' official candidate for the party president post and it is upto the electors and delegates who they want to vote for.

It is to be recalled that Congress has long been facing biggest criticism that there has been dynastic raj in the party. If sources are to believe on non-Gandhi Congress president then that it will be a move by the party to try and blunt the narrative.

Last non-Gandhi Congress president

For the unversed, Sonia had joined the Congress in 1997 and announced that she would campaign for the party in 1998 Lok Sabha election. Back then, Sitaram Kesri was the Congress president.

The Congress Working Committee (CWC) had on 14 March, 1998, passed a resolution asking Kesri to step down as party president.

Front runners for Congress president post

Shashi Tharoor and Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot's names have been doing the rounds to contest for the Congress presidential post.

However, there have been growing chorus for Rahul Gandhi’s elevation to the post of Congress President.

News agency ANI on Monday quoted sources close to Congress confirming that 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 yesterday.

Reports also say that Tharoor and Gehlot will be filing their nomination to contest for the top Congress post on 26 September.

Shashi Tharoor meets Sonia Gandhi

Thiruvananthapuram MP Shashi Tharoor, along with party leaders Deepender Hooda, Jai Prakash Agarwal and Vijendra Singh, met Sonia at her residence in the national capital.

As per reports, Sonia during the meeting with Tharoor said: "Genuine elections will be held. Anyone is free to contest the Congress presidential poll."

The post of Congress President fell vacant after Rahul Gandhi stepped down following the party's dismal performance in the 2019 Lok Sabha election.

With inputs from agencies

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