Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on the third day of the party's 'Bharat Jodo Yatra', in Kanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu, on Friday, September 9, 2022.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on the third day of the party's 'Bharat Jodo Yatra', in Kanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu, on Friday, September 9, 2022. IANS

Whether I contest for party president's post or not, only poll will tell: Rahul

Nagercoil, September 9, 2022

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday said that whether he contests for the party president's post or not will be clear when the poll takes place.

Addressing the people on day two of his 3,570 km-long "Bharat Jodo Yatra", he asked the people to wait for the elections.

"Whether I become president or not will become clear when the elections for the president's post happen. I have clearly decided what I will do, there is no confusion in my mind."

Gandhi said: "The election is scheduled to take place after a few weeks and if I don't contest, then ask me and I shall answer."

He was responding to questions on his candidature in the poll.

As per sources, the party is in the process of chalking out strategies for the presidential elections. However, a final decision would be taken only after Congress President Sonia Gandhi returns from abroad after her medical check-up.

The significant development comes weeks ahead of the Congress President elections. Veteran leaders Shashi Tharoor and former Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviiraj Chavan are the probable candidates, as per sources. However, there is no clarity on it.

As Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot emerges as front runner, being seen as choice of interim chief Sonia Gandhi, even as some want the return of Rahul Gandhi - with Gehlot too proposing his name, the G-23, which was understood to have made up its mind to field a candidate if no Gandhi stood, is now less likely to do so as it it is uncertain that Sonia Gandhi's choice will be challenged.

The last time the election was conducted for the Congress President's post was in 2000 when Jitendra Prasada had challenged Sonia Gandhi but lost.

While some G-23 leaders have left the party and some even joined the BJP while some others had distanced themselves, Azad had said that he has been forced to leave and Manish Tewari has reiterated that he is not a tenant but a shareholder in the party. However, the G-23, after the exit of Azad, seems to have become rather leaderless.

Meanwhile, Congress General Secretary, Organisation, K. C. Venugopal said that the schedule for the party chief's election has already been announced, and those who want to contest for the post should file the nomination before September 30.

A section of Congress leaders say that Rahul Gandhi should again take over as President, with Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge saying that this is his personal opinion, and Salman Khurshid has also expressed support for him.

Rahul Gandhi said the 150-day and 3,570 km-long march would help the party and also make him wiser.

"The idea of this yatra is to connect with the people, listen to them, understand what they are facing and also communicate to them a few things... communicate the fact that India has changed," he said, adding: "This yatra is going to help the Congress party. I don't think it is going to harm the party."

He said he agreed to join the Padyatra as he believed in the ideals of the Congress party.

"I think that it is important that those ideals are spread in the country," he said.

He said it is a powerful thing to do not just from political standpoint but also from a personal perspective.

It is not an easy thing to do and he thought it would be worthwhile to do that from a personal journey perspective, he said.

"So, it is a different way of thinking about things. It is a different way of looking at things, but, hopefully I will get some understanding about myself and some understanding about this beautiful country from this Yatra and I think some months later, I will be a little wiser," he added.


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