Lack of Clarity, ‘Last Chance’ to Rahul Gandhi Delay Polls for Congress Chief Again as Gehlot Waits in the Wings

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Amid hectic parleys that positioned Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot as the frontrunner for the post of Congress president, sources told CNN-News18 on Thursday that the elections for the top job are likely to be postponed for a few weeks and the final schedule will be decided in the Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting scheduled on August 28.

Sources said it was likely that instead of the election process getting completed by September 21, the party chief would be chosen in October-November. They added that the decision to defer the elections was taken since the party leaders will be busy in the ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’, which will commence on September 7, and the Gandhis, including Sonia Gandhi, will be abroad for the Congress chief’s treatment.

Apart from this, there is also no clarity on who can file nominations, even as Rahul Gandhi remains reluctant to helm the affairs of the party since he quit in 2019 after the party was virtually decimated in the national elections.

Sonia Gandhi, who took over as interim chief on the party’s request after her son’s resignation, has already said no citing her health. This leaves just one Gandhi — Priyanka Gandhi Vadra — to assume the role but she too is uninterested in taking over.

CNN-News18 had reported on Wednesday that amid the buzz of a new Congress chief, Gehlot seems to be Sonia Gandhi’s best bet, given his long administrative and political career, loyalty towards the Gandhis and ability to steer the party towards victory in the 2024 elections.

Sources say when Sonia Gandhi met Gehlot, she expressed her concern over the fact that Rahul Gandhi was not keen on taking over the responsibility and she was finding it difficult to get contenders for the top post.

There are also talks that the ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ and clear projection of Rahul Gandhi is the last attempt to push the ex-Congress chief to accept the top job. If the yatra is successful, Rahul Gandhi will be goaded again. But, for now, Gehlot remains the frontrunner.

The Gehlot camp has not confirmed the development, but sources have confirmed that the Congress is looking beyond the Gandhis for the top post. Gehlot himself has said that these things were coming up in the media and he had no knowledge of it.

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