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G23 meet sparks possibility of third candidate in Congress president poll
New Delhi: With the process of the Congress president election gathering pace ahead of the last day of filing nominations, some G-23 leaders held a meeting on Thursday evening at the residence of Anand Sharma.
The meeting was attended by former union minister Manish Tewari, former Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda. According to sources, the leaders discussed the whole situation emerging in the run-up to the Congress presidential polls. The leaders will meet again.
A leader from the group is likely to file a nomination on Friday for the party's presidential polls.
"Nobody has filed a nomination yet. Once it is done, there wll be contemplation. The democratic process has begun. BS Hooda, Anand Sharma, Prithviraj Chavan and I sat for deliberation and discussed events," Manish Tewari said while leaving Anand Sharma's residence.
Asked whether G-23 will support candidates whose names have come for Congress presidential poll so far, Tewari said, "Days pass between collecting, filing and withdrawing nomination papers. The decision will be taken at that time. In English, it is called in politics 'it is the preponderance of probabilities'. Let us see what happens tomorrow."
The G-23 leaders had written to Congress interim chief Sonia Gandhi seeking organisational overhaul and internal elections at all levels.
"It is good that polls are being held in the party in a democratic way. We thanked Sonia Gandhi for the free-fair polls. Let us see who will file the nomination. We have heard a few names. We will support the best candidate in the field," Prithviraj Chavan told ANI.
The remarks of the G23 leaders indicate that they do not possibly see Shashi Tharoor representing their voice in the election.
After the meeting, Anand Sharma arrived at Jodhpur House to meet Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, who was top contender in the Congress president poll but has now said he will not fight for the post of Congress chief due to political crisis in the state triggered by action of his loyalists who were averse to Sachin Pilot becoming chief minister.
Gehlot also met Mukul Wasnik and Pawan Kumar Bansal.
Earlier Gehlot met Sonia Gandhi at her residence at 10 Janpath in the national capital.
"I met Rahul Gandhi in Kochi and requested him to fight the polls (for Congress President). When he didn't accept, I said I'll contest but now with that incident (political crisis in Rajasthan), I have decided not to contest the elections," CM Gehlot said.
In significant remarks, party leader KC Venugopal said that the decision on CM's post will be taken in a day or two by Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
Gehlot also apologised for the ruckus in Rajasthan triggered by his loyalists over a possible leadership change in the state after Gehlot was set to file his nomination papers for the Congress chief polls.
Gehlot said that whatever happened in the state in the past two days had shocked everyone.
He said that he won't contest the elections in this atmosphere. "I won't contest these elections in this atmosphere, with moral responsibility," Gehlot said.
On being asked if he will remain Rajasthan CM, Gehlot said, "I won't decide that, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi will decide that."
"One-line resolution is our tradition. Unfortunately, a situation arose that resolution wasn't passed. It was my moral responsibility (to pass the resolution), but despite being a CM I couldn't get it passed," he added.
Talking to reporters, Gehlot said the party works under the Congress president and decisions will be taken in the time to come.
He said Congress workers worry about the direction in which the country is heading and tackling the issue was more important.
Former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister and Congress veteran Digvijaya Singh on Friday collected his nomination papers and announced that he is likely to file his nominations tomorrow between 11 am to 3 pm.
Congress MP Shashi Tharoor has announced that he will submit his nomination for the post at 12.15 pm on Friday.
The filing of nominations for the top Congress post will take place till September 30 and the election will take place on October 17. (ANI)