Generational shift in Congress

Generational shift in Congress
Highlights

Marking a generational shift, Rahul Gandhi is all set to take over as Congress president next week as he was the only candidate to file nominations before deadline expired on Monday for the post amid jibes over dynasty politics in a contest with no one else in the fray.

New Delhi: Marking a generational shift, Rahul Gandhi is all set to take over as Congress president next week as he was the only candidate to file nominations before deadline expired on Monday for the post amid jibes over dynasty politics in a contest with no one else in the fray.

The 47-year-old Gandhi, who will be the sixth Nehru-Gandhi scion to helm the party, filed papers at the Congress headquarters here amid cheers and celebrations by party leaders and workers. His mother and incumbent party president Sonia Gandhi signed the first nomination paper for election of her son.

He has been party vice president for over four years since 2013.Among the proposers of 89 nominations -- all in support of Gandhi -- was former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who called Rahul Gandhi the "darling" of the party. Manmohan Singh accompanied Gandhi when he filed the nomination paper.

The last date for withdrawal is December 11 when he may be declared elected since there is no contest. Scrutiny of the nomination will take place on Tuesday. "Eighty-nine nominations from various states were submitted to the returning officer.

Prominent Congress leaders filed nominations (on behalf of Gandhi) including the former Prime Minister, Congress Working Committee members, MPs, state Congress leaders," Returning Officer Mullapally Ramachandran told reporters. Though Ramachandran did not divulge details, sources said all the nominations were in favour of "one candidate" -- obviously Gandhi.

Originally 90 nomination forms were issued but one could not be filed as there were not enough number of proposers. However, the filing of nomination was not without controversy stoked by remarks of senior Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar who invoked the Mughal dynasty in the Congress presidential election that Prime Minister Narendra Modi latched on to quickly to call it "Aurangzeb Raj".

"When Shah Jahan came in the place of Jahangir did any election happen? And when Aurangzeb came in place of Shah Jahan did any election happen? It was known to everyone that the throne of the king will automatically go to the heir," Aiyar said, retorting to the "dynasty" jibes of the BJP on Rahul Gandhi's election.

"But in a democracy, elections are held. I openly invite (Shehzad) Poonawala to file the nomination and contest," Aiyar said, adding no one had earlier heard of Poonawala.

Aiyar was replying to a question about BJP's criticism following Maharashtra Congress leader Poonawala alleging that election for Congress president was a sham and Rahul Gandhi's elevation was rigged.

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