Congress may defer poll as Rahul and Gehlot not keen on top job | India News

NEW DELHI: More drama is in the offing as the much-delayed election to the post of Congress president is likely to be deferred further by a few weeks. The proposed deferment comes amid continuing reluctance of Rahul Gandhi to take up the top post, and the resistance of the alternative choice, Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot, to move from Jaipur. Gehlot has said that the party will try till the last moment to persuade Rahul.
The Congress Working Committee will meet on Sunday to finalise the schedule for the AICC president’s election, the party announced on Wednesday.
The process was earlier to be completed by September 21, but now it is learnt that the party may put off the polls by a few weeks, starting the process on September 28 and ending it by October 10-19. This schedule may be put before the CWC for approval.
It marks a big change in the plan, as the party was mulling advancing the elections by a couple of weeks to install a new president ahead of the Bharat Jodo Yatra on September 7. A draft schedule to this effect had been prepared and sent to the Congress chief for approval, according to sources.
While party leaders believe the “inauspicious period” in September can be the reason behind putting off the poll process, a senior AICC manager denied it. He claimed there may be a small delay owing to the fact that electoral rolls are still to be finalised, as some district and state elections are yet to be concluded. But many view the likely deferral as rooted in the uncertainty on the leadership issue, a reason why the polls have been put off repeatedly over last two years.
Rahul is said to be resistant to retaking the reins of the party, despite repeated entreaties of his loyalists and the seniors. Meanwhile, Gehlot, who has been the first non-Gandhi choice, appears reluctant too. While it is said he is not keen to leave Jaipur, others believe he may be ready to vacate the chair for a loyalist — a condition that may create a complication given the factional divide in the state Congress and Sachin Pilot’s aspirations.
Congress chief Sonia Gandhi is overseas for her annual medical checkup, with Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra accompanying her.

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