By Akhileshwari Anand Raj
The process of filing nominations for the post of President of the Indian National Congress began on the morning of 4th December. Rahul Gandhi filed his nomination papers and has been consistently supported by various senior Congress leaders.
The only person to have challenged Rahul’s elevation to the post of president is a party worker named Shehzad Poonawala. However, since he is a party delegate, he cannot stand for the elections. Calling the election a farce, Poonawalla tweeted that this was a black day for the Indian National Congress.
Senior leaders support pushes Rahul Gandhi ahead
Ahead of signing his nomination papers, Rahul briefly met with the former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and former President Pranab Mukherjee. Mukherjee has been with the Congress for decades and has worked closely with the family. Further, Singh opined that the election of Rahul Gandhi would be instrumental in carrying on the traditions of the Congress Party.
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh called this a great move. He stated that it was time for a young leader to take charge given the changing demographics of India. He further stated that for a young India, Rahul Gandhi would be a young president, and would “make a fine Prime Minister”.
Congratulatory messages in support of Rahul Gandhi flooded Twitter even as the election process has not been completed. Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah tweeted his congratulations to the “likely party chief”. Additionally, former Union Minister Chidambaram also wished him luck as Congress President.
The road to Rahul’s elevation
Nomination day saw several party workers chanting slogans in support of Rahul Gandhi’s elevation. This has been slated to happen ever since the run-up to the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, but it has been speculated that Rahul has been reluctant to step up to the post. Moreover, Sonia Gandhi has often stated that the decision to become the party’s president has always been up to him.
Rahul’s elevation as president comes at a crucial time. It is before the announcement of election results in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat. This is important as Rahul Gandhi campaigned extensively in Gujarat. The party’s performance in the state will be the first test of Rahul’s leadership skills. It will also be a direct outcome of his efforts.
The opposition attacked this election process, with Prime Minister Modi in Gujarat bashing the family politics. He stated that “this Aurangzeb rule” is not wanted, referring to the Mughal times when elections were not held.
The Congress has clearly stated that there is nothing wrong with their election process. They stated that it is a democratic set-up and anyone is free to stand against him. Further, the party’s election authority stated that the list of candidates will be announced on 5th December. The election is slated to be held on 16th December and counting of votes will take place on 19th December.
Featured Image Credits: Wikimedia Commons
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