New Delhi [India], September 30 (ANI): Congress Central Election Authority chairman Madhusudan Mistry on Friday said that a total of 20 nomination forms have been received, adding that the Gandhi family is not supporting any candidate for the party's president post.
This comes after Mallikarjun Kharge, who is a known Gandhi family loyalist, entered into the fray at the eleventh hour. While several top leaders including from the G-23 faction flanked Kharge when he filed the nomination papers today.
Mistry added that 14 nominations were received by Mallikarjun Kharge, five by Shashi Tharoor and one by Jharkhand Congress leader KN Tripathi.
"14 forms submitted by (Mallikarjun) Kharge, 5 by Shashi Tharoor and one by KN Tripathi. Tomorrow, we will scrutinise forms and tomorrow evening we will announce forms that are valid and the names of candidates," said Mistry at the press briefing.
He further said that the Gandhi family has not endorsed any candidate for the presidential polls.
"None of these three is an official candidate of the party. They are contesting on their own. The Gandhi family has not endorsed anyone's nomination. Congress president has made it very clear that she will stay neutral throughout the process and if someone claims he has her blessings and it is incorrect: Madhusudan Mistry
He also added that candidates are in the fray of their own volition and Gandhis are neutral in this contest and are not supporting anyone.
Senior Congress leader and MP, Shashi Tharoor on Friday filed his nomination for the post of party President at the office of the All India Congress Committee (AICC) in the national capital.
Kharge received support from nearly 30 Congress leaders for the party's presidential polls. These names include Deepender Hooda, Salman Khurshid, Ashok Gehlot, Digvijaya Singh, Manish Tewari, Prithviraj Chavan, and among others.
Meanwhile, Jharkhand Congress leader KN Tripathi also filed his nomination for the party's topmost position and said that "the decision of party leaders is respected".
"I belong to a farmer's family. The country is seeing that son of a farmer who has experience of serving with the Indian Air Force, minister in state government and elected as deputy leader of Jharkhand Legislative Assembly, can also contest for the post of AICC President," Tripathi had said before filing his nominations today.
Terming Kharge as the 'Bhishma Pita' of the Congress, Tharoor said that he will not withdraw his nomination and that the contest will be friendly and there is no rivalry between the candidates.
Both Tewari and Tharoor belong to the G-23 grouping of senior leaders within the party. Reports had suggested Tewari was himself thinking of contesting.
Meanwhile, former Madhya Pradesh CM Digvijaya Singh dropped out of the Congress presidential race. He too extended his support to Kharge, saying he "cannot think of contesting an election" against a senior leader like Kharge.
Singh was the second Congress leader to pull out of the race after Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot amid political turmoil in his state. Gehlot said he would be the proposer for Kharge.
Nominations for the post of Congress president close at 3 pm today and results will be declared on October 19.
With the Gandhis not running for the top post this time around, the grand old party is all set to get a non-Gandhi president after over 25 years. (ANI)