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‘Not interested’ in Congress president post, says Kamal Nath as he steps in to defuse Rajasthan political crisis

New Delhi: Senior Congress leader Kamal Nath on Monday (September 26, 2022) said that he is “not interested” in contesting the party’s presidency poll even as he stepped in to defuse the ongoing crisis in the party’s Rajasthan unit. 

“I have no interest, I have come to Delhi for Navratri,” he told reporters when asked if he was not interested in the post of Congress president.

The former chief minister of Madhya Pradesh, who met Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi at her 10 Janpath residence in Delhi, is now speculated to play the role of a mediator and try to broker a truce in Rajasthan, which is reeling under a factional feud after a possible leadership change move turned into a full-blown crisis for the grand old party. 

Sonia Gandhi seeks report on Rajasthan rebellion

Upset over an open rebellion in Rajasthan, Sonia Gandhi has reportedly sought a written report on it from party observers Mallikarjun Kharge and Ajay Maken. Kharge and Maken, who were sent as observers to Jaipur for a Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meeting on Sunday, briefed Gandhi in the evening after their return to Delhi and termed the parallel meet held by Gehlot loyalists as “indiscipline”.

They are likely to recommend disciplinary action against those behind the move, including minister Shanti Dhariwal and Rajasthan Congress chief whip Mahesh Joshi.

Gehlot loyalists had submitted resignation letters to Assembly Speaker CP Joshi on Sunday evening, in an apparent bid to put pressure on the central leadership to pick someone from the Gehlot camp as CM if the veteran leader is elected the new party president. They indicated that they were against the appointment of Sachin Pilot, who led a rebellion against Gehlot in 2020, to the post.

Ashok Gehlot to not contest Congress president poll?

The political drama in Rajasthan has now put a question mark on whether Ashok Gehlot would still run for the Congress president’s post or if someone else would replace him as a candidate supported by the current leadership. Names of senior party leaders Kharge, Digvijaya Singh, Sushilkumar Shinde, Mukul Wasnik and Kumari Selja are now also doing the rounds for the post.

So far, Shashi Tharoor and Ashok Gehlot are among the known faces who have indicated fighting the Congress president poll.

According to a notification issued by the party on Thursday, the process for filing nominations for the election will be held from September 24 to 30.

The date for scrutiny of the nomination papers is October 1, while the last date for withdrawal of nominations is October 8. The final list of candidates will be published at 5 pm on October 8.

The polling, if needed, will be held on October 17. The counting of votes will be taken up on October 19 and the results will be declared the same day.

(With agency inputs)