NEW DELHI: With only her nomination papers being filed, Ms Sonia Gandhi will be re-elected unopposed as the Congress president for the fourth consecutive term and the announcement is expected to be made on Friday.
Thursday was the last day of filing nominations. Fifty-five sets of nominations were filed on behalf of 63-year-old Ms Gandhi.
“The declaration could be made tomorrow and a certificate would be handed over to the Congress president at AICC headquarters,” Mr Oscar Fernandes, chairman of the central election authority of the party told reporters.
The first group which met Ms Gandhi and proposed her name for the top post in the party was led by the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh.
The other groups comprising cabinet ministers and Congress Working Committee members was led by the Finance Minister, Mr Pranab Mukherjee.
The AICC general-secretary, Mr Rahul Gandhi was part of another group of proposers, which was led by party treasurer, Mr Motilal Vora.
Mr Rahul Gandhi filed the nomination papers on behalf of Ms Gandhi before Mr Fernandes.
Mr Fernandes said the CWC would be dissolved after the formal announcement of Ms Gandhi’s name as party president.
He said a steering committee would be formed till the plenary of the party, likely to be held by December, this year.
Among those who proposed her name included party chief ministers, including Ms Sheila Dikshit of Delhi, Mr Ashok Gehlot of Rajasthan and Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda of Haryana.
The nominations were submitted to Mr Fernandes, who is the returning officer for the poll.
Earlier, Mr Singh, Mr Rahul Gandhi and Mr Mukherjee met Ms Gandhi at her 10-Janpath residence and took her consent for candidature.
The Union minister, Mr R P N Singh said the party believes in democratic process and the election for the post of Congress president is taking that process forward.
“(Ms) Gandhi had taken the reins of the party when it was in the decline. It has been a great journey for Congress since then,” he told reporters.
The election process was set in motion last week with the issue of the notification.
Ms Gandhi has created a record for the longest tenure as Congress chief by steering the party since April 1998 when she replaced the late Sitaram Kesri.
Only once she had to face a contest with senior leader Jitendra Prasada throwing his hat in the ring a decade back but she had defeated him.
The electoral college for the Congress president’s election comprises 7,946 PCC delegates.
Interestingly, one set of nomination papers on behalf of Ms Gandhi from Chandigarh was rejected as it had names of only nine proposers instead of the mandatory 10, Mr Fernandes said. However, Chandigarh had sent another set of nomination which was found to be valid.
The maximum set of nominations was filed from Uttar Pradesh. Leaders from the states met Ms Gandhi in an alphabetical order to get her consent for filing the nomination.
As per the constitution of the party, the nominations can be filed only after the leader, on whose behalf it is being filed, gives his/her consent for it.
Mr Fernandes said the election for the PCC, which includes the PCC president, vice-presidents, treasurer, state executive and the delegates would be held on September 17 and the state election authority has been given the liberty to announce the schedule.
Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir figure in the list of states that have yet to complete the process of internal elections.
The plenary of the party, likely to be held in December, this year, would have on its agenda the election of the CWC, Mr Fernandes said.
Asked about the date and venue of the plenary, he said the steering committee would take a decision on the issue.