Open election, anyone can stand, says Gehlot as Congress prez poll buzz intensifies

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Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot (File photo)

Amid the growing likelihood of a Shashi Tharoor vs Ashok Gehlot showdown for the post of Congress president, the Rajasthan Chief Minister said the contest was open to all.

Speaking to reporters after his arrival in Delhi, Gehlot said, “If people in the party think I am needed in the role of party president or CM, then I won't say no. I'll again request Rahul Gandhi [to become Congress president]. If he conducts Bharat Jodo Yatra as party president, then it'll create an aura for the party.”

Asked about the ‘one person, one post’ rule in context of the party presidential polls, the Congress veteran said, “There was talk of nomination to two posts. This is an open election, anyone can stand.”

“Chief minister or party president, I will abide by wishes of Congress people,” added Gehlot.

Gehlot’s assertion was bolstered by AICC general secretary in-charge communications Jairam Ramesh, who said no one requires the permission of president Sonia Gandhi or Rahul Gandhi to contest in the presidential polls.

"Anybody is free and welcome to contest in the election if they have the backing of 10 PCC delegates...The elections will be fair and transparent," said Ramesh.

The Congress' central election authority will issue a notification for the AICC president polls on Thursday, setting the ball rolling for electing the successor to the longest-serving party chief Sonia Gandhi.

After over two decades, the Congress is likely to see a contest for the post of party chief with Shashi Tharoor looking set to enter the fray and Ashok Gehlot indicating that he will throw his hat in the ring if Rahul Gandhi does not agree to take on the party's reins.

The process for filing nominations for the election will be held from September 24 to 30.

The date of scrutiny of the nomination papers would be October 1, while the last date of withdrawal of nominations would be October 8.

The election, if there is more than one candidate, will take place on October 17, while counting of votes, if necessary, and the counting of votes and the declaration of results would be on October 19.

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