Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi will file his nomination for the post of party president with pomp and show at the party headquarters here on Monday. The party has lined up 70 nominations papers proposed by chief ministers of Congress-led states and party state presidents, while senior leaders are making a beeline to Delhi to show their support to Gandhi over his elevation. Mullappally Ramachandran, the returning officer, confirmed that 74 nomination forms have been filed from different states. Latest one came from Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Sunday, proposing Gandhi’s name for the post of Congress president.On Monday, senior leaders including Manmohan Singh, AK Antony, Ahmed Patel and Ghulam Nabi Azad are likely to submit sets of nomination papers. Party is using this as an occasion to show support for Gandhi. “Important leaders of the party will be at the AICC office to express solidarity to Rahul Gandhi,” a party office-bearer said.According to election schedule approved by the Congress Working Committee, the nomination process started on December 1. The last date of nomination is on December 4 (Monday). The scrutiny of nominations will take place on December 5, when most likely Gandhi will be declared president replacing his mother Sonia Gandhi, who held this post for nearly 19 years. While last date of withdrawal is December 11, the elections in case of anyone else filing nominations will take place on December 16. The results in that case will be out on December 19.Meanwhile, Maharashtra Congress secretary Shehzad Poonawalla on Sunday once again sharpened his attack against Gandhi. “I have been trying to raise the most important issue of dynastic politics and fair opportunity to the non-dynasts within the party for the past six to eight years. I also wrote to Rahul ji on this. Instead of answering my claims about delegates being fixed and one family one ticket rule – they are making baseless allegations against me that I am a BJP agent. I have to become a whistle-blower. I am not spineless like the other Congress leaders,” he said. “Main Shehzad hoon, shehzada nahin. I am Shehzad Poonawalla, not a prince like Rahul Gandhi. They don’t have a place for me,” he added.Poonawalla also thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for praising him for his bravery and said, “The person whom I criticised PM Modi is supporting me, while the party Congress for which I gave my life is criticising me and saying that I am not a member of it.”Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Modi endorsed Poonawalla’s allegations and called out Congress for the lack of “internal democracy” within. “A youngster Shehzad has exposed the rigging that is taking place in the Congress president poll. And Shehzad is a senior Congress leader in Maharashtra. The Congress Party has tried to muzzle his voice and wants to even remove him from their social media groups. What tolerance is this!” the PM said, addressing a rally in Gujarat.THE SCHEDULEDec 1: Nomination process begins Dec 4: Last date of filing nomination Dec 5: Scrutiny of nomination papers Dec 11: Last date for withdrawing nomination
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Rahul Gandhi to file papers for Cong prez post today