The Congress is expected to put up a show of strength on December 4 when Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi files his nomination for the post of party chief with over 70 sets of nomination papers likely to be filed supporting his candidature. Congress Chief Ministers, state unit chiefs and senior leaders are expected to be present at the party’s central office to express their support for Rahul Gandhi over his elevation, which has been in the works for long. Mullappally Ramachandran, the returning officer for the election, told IANS that 74 nomination forms have been taken by different states.
Apart from states and union territories, senior leaders including Manmohan Singh, A.K. Antony, Ahmed Patel and Ghulam Nabi Azad are likely to submit sets of nomination papers. Party sources said the leaders will come to show their strong support for Rahul Gandhi, who is also the party’s main campaigner. “Important leaders of the party will be at the AICC to express solidarity for Rahul Gandhi,” a party office-bearer said. Rahul Gandhi will sign the nomination papers but it is not yet clear if he will come to file the nomination personally. Sources said that no nomination paper has so far been submitted to the returning officer. The process of nomination started on Friday.
Rahul Gandhi is leading the party’s campaign in Gujarat assembly poll where elections will be held on December 9 and 14. His elevation has been talked about in party circles for about two years and will now take place as culmination of the party’s organisational elections. The last date of filing nominations is December 4 and Gandhi is expected to be the only candidate in the fray. He could be declared the next party chief on December 5 after scrutiny of nominations. Gandhi became Congres Vice President in January 2013 and will succeed his mother Sonia Gandhi, who is the longest-serving chief of the party, having been at the helm from 1998.