PROBE NEWS: All 89 Congress presidential election nominations filed proposed party vice-president Rahul Gandhi as the next party president paving the way for the Gandhi scion’s undisputed elevation. There is now only one validly nominated candidate that is Rahul Gandhi left in the fray for Congress president election, AICC elections returning officer M Ramachandran said. The old guard exuded confidence in his leadership and said he would steer the party to greater heights. While former prime minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday described him as the “darling of the Congress”, Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh said he would make a “good future prime minister”. The last date for withdrawal of nominations is 11 December, when the returning officer will declare him elected as the new Congress president. The election has drawn much criticism since it seems like an eyewash for dynasty politics. Prime Minister Narendra Modi while addressing a rally in Gujarat’s Dharampur on Monday had raked up Mani Shankar Aiyar’s reported statement on Rahul Gandhi’s elevation where he had said “it’s like Aurangzeb taking over from Shah Jahan”. The BJP on Monday played on the words “Pidi” and “peedhi (generation)” while dismissing the process for generational change in the Congress leadership as “Pidhikaran”, a reference to Rahul Gandhi’s dog, Pidi. Neither the old “peedhi” nor the new “peedhi” matters in the Opposition party, BJP spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao said, using the Hindi word for a generation to take a swipe at the process to elevate Rahul. In no organisation is a member promoted for repeatedly failing to perform, he said after the Gandhi scion filed his nomination papers to succeed his mother Sonia Gandhi as Congress president. Congress party vice-president Rahul Gandhi arrives to file his nomination papers at the party headquarters, in New Delhi. APCongress party vice-president Rahul Gandhi arrives to file his nomination papers at the party headquarters, in New Delhi. Senior BJP leader and Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had on Monday claimed that ordinary Congress workers were feeling humiliated and sad with party vice-president Rahul Gandhi filing nomination papers for the post of party president. Sarma, one of the most prominent leaders of the Congress in Assam before joining the saffron party, also said that despite belonging to the 21st century, Gandhi missed a historical opportunity to free the Congress from dynastic and feudal politics. On the 30 November, the party’s Maharashtra unit secretary Shehzad Poonawalla had called the process to elect the Congress president “rigged” and said that Rahul Gandhi must first resign as its vice-president. Shehzad said he would also contest the election if it was conducted in a “genuine” manner. On Tuesday, he also wrote a letter to Rahul in this regard.”I cannot contest a rigged election. If the system is genuine, then I will contest. It is a rigged election it is a selection. Delegates who are going to vote for this election have not been elected as per the constitutional requirements. They have been handpicked.
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