In another intriguing twist to the Congress Presidential election that is set to take place after a gap of almost 21 years, it has come to the fore that senior party leader, party treasurer, and former Railway Minister Pawan Bansal has also taken nomination forms “as a supporter” for someone who wants to contest for the top party post.
The revelation was made after Congress Central Election Authority (CEA) Chairman Madhusudan Mistry met party interim chief Sonia Gandhi at her residence earlier on Tuesday. The meeting between Mistry and Sonia Gandhi lasted over 40 minutes.
Speaking to the media, Mistry said, “I had to brief Sonia Gandhi about the present situation on organizational elections and the update on identity cards of delegates and also to hand over her identity card as she is a delegate from Uttar Pradesh and also the interim party president. We apprised her on who all took forms.”
He said, “One form has been taken by Shashi Tharoor and another by Bansal as a supporter for someone else.” When asked if Bansal is proposing someone as a candidate in the election, he said he cannot comment on the same. Mistry added that Bansal, who is also party treasurer, had taken two forms on Monday. He also clarified that Bansal is a delegate and he can take the forms if someone asks for the same. He added that it is not mandatory that if someone is taking a form one has to mention one’s name but while submitting it one has to mention one’s name on the form.
When asked if he had any information from Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, Mistry said, “No one has contacted me.” Earlier, Gehlot was being touted to be the leadership’s choice for the top post. But Gehlot does not want to give up the role of Rajasthan Chief Minister. However, the recent political development in Rajasthan has only dented his chances of running for the top post.
On Sunday, as many as 90 MLAs of his camp submitted their resignations opposing the choice of Sachin Pilot as Chief Minister. Gehlot, too, had met Rahul Gandhi in Kerala on Thursday during the 3,570 km long Bharat Jodo Yatra.
Mistry also said that the representatives of veteran party leader Shashi Tharoor said on Tuesday that they will file the nomination form on September 30, which is the last date of nomination.