What Digvijaya Singh said on Congress president election bid: Report | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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What Digvijaya Singh said on Congress president election bid: Report

Sep 23, 2022 02:51 PM IST

Congress presidential poll: Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot and ex union minister Shashi Tharoor are the principal candidates to replace Sonia Gandhi as the party's 'full-time' chief.

Congress leader Digvijaya Singh will not join Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot and ex union minister Shashi Tharoor in the race to replace Sonia Gandhi as party boss. Singh - a former Madhya Pradesh chief minister who raised eyebrows Thursday after suggesting he could make it a three-way fight - told reporters he will follow orders and not contest.

Congress leader Digvijaya Singh (File Photo)
Congress leader Digvijaya Singh (File Photo)

Singh and a handful of other senior Congress leaders - including another ex Madhya Pradesh CM in Kamal Nath and another ex union minister in Manish Tewari - were among those believed to be in the running.

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On Thursday Singh met interim president Sonia Gandhi in Delhi. He also told a TV news channel 'why rule me out?' when asked about a run for the top post.

The Congress is scheduled to hold an election for a new and 'full-time' president on October 17 after months of uncertainty and internal strife .

Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot this morning confirmed his bid.

Ex union minister Shashi Tharoor is seen as the other option.

Also on Thursday, Gehlot - a Gandhi loyalist - met Sonia Gandhi (in Delhi) to discuss his candidature and Rahul Gandhi (in Kerala) urge him to return.

READ | 'Rahul Gandhi made it clear...': Cong prez hopeful Ashok Gehlot

Gehlot has made no secret of his desire to see Rahul Gandhi as Congress chief and critics of the party - including the BJP - have suggested his elevation could simply be a way for the Gandhis to retain control but not be the public face.

Rahul Gandhi has refused to return and has also stressed he expects the party to follow the 'one person, one post' formula adopted at the Udaipur meeting.

READ | On 'one-man, one-post', Rahul's indirect message to Gehlot

That was seen as a warning to Gehlot, who had been hoping to retain his position in Rajasthan and become party boss.

That is likely to mean ex Rajasthan deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot - who in 2020 led an unsuccessful revolt against Gehlot - will be chief minister.

Rahul also told Gehlot 'no one from the Gandhi family should become the next chief', paving the way for the Congress' first non-Gandhi head since 1998.

Tharoor is a member of the Congress' in-house critics - the G-23 that has pointed to electoral defeats and the exodus of senior leaders to demand a top-down organisational revamp - a demand rebutted by Gehlot and other loyalists.

The Tharoor vs Gehlot face-off for Congress president could lead to fireworks, although it is widely expected Gehlot - the unofficial party candidate - will win.

Support for Tharoor outside party loyalists' rank seems sparse; the Kerala unit of the Congress has indicated it is not likely to extend backing and party spokesperson Gourav Vallabh slammed him this week.

READ | 'His only contribution…': Congress leader’s stinging critique of Tharoor

Sonia Gandhi has told both Gehlot and Tharoor the election will be 'fair' and that the Congress party will not officially back either candidate.

With input from ANI

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