Former Union Minister Shashi Tharoor was the first to announce his intention to run for a position that has largely been held by the Gandhi family for 25 years, either by Sonia Gandhi or her son Rahul. He is a well-known member of the G-23, a group of 23 leaders in the Congress who wrote to Sonia Gandhi in 2020 to demand organisational reform and lay the blame for the party’s decline on a leadership drift.
On Monday afternoon, Mr. Tharoor met with Sonia Gandhi, who had just returned from a medical checkup abroad, and secured her approval to run in the election on October 17.
After only a few hours, Ashok Gehlot emerged as the other contender, making the race for the top position in the Congress much tougher.
Up until recently, the chief minister of Rajasthan, a devoted supporter of the Gandhi family, had been pushing for Rahul Gandhi to take over as party leader. He is likely to gain support from those advocating for maintaining the status quo and Rahul Gandhi’s reinstatement as prime minister.
“Everyone is invited and free to participate in the competition. Rahul Gandhi and the Congress Party have consistently held this position. This procedure is transparent, democratic, and open. No one needs approval from anyone to compete, “said Jairam Ramesh, a Congress MP and the party’s communications general secretary.
In three days, nominations for the presidency will be accepted.
The exits of several significant leaders over the previous year will form a backdrop for the election. Senior leader Ghulam Nabi Azad was the last to go, and the majority of party leaders in Jammu and Kashmir followed suit.
Since Rahul Gandhi resigned from the position in 2019, taking responsibility for the party’s second straight loss in general elections, Sonia Gandhi, who served as the Congress President for 19 years before handing over leadership to her son, has served as the interim leader of the party. It failed to stop the crisis. Since then, the party has suffered a string of defeats in state elections, leading to calls for a radical leadership change.