Congress presidential election halted in the midst of Rajasthan crisis

The Congress’ presidential election process has been halted for a day because Madhusudan Mistry, the party’s Central Election Authority chief, was scheduled to undergo a routine health check-up.

According to a Congress spokesperson, the process has been temporarily halted for Monday, and Mistry will return to Congress headquarters on Tuesday after his check-up to resume the process.

The process was halted due to a crisis in Rajasthan, where lawmakers loyal to chief minister Ashok Gehlot, who was expected to file his nomination for Congress president on Monday, have threatened to bring down the government unless they get to choose his successor.

Gehlot’s supporters have requested that the announcement of his successor be delayed until October 19, according to Congress’s central observers Ajay Maken, who added that there appears to be a conflict of interest because a resolution authorises the party president to make the final decision on the matter. Maken pointed out that Gehlot could be the Congress chief by October 19.

Maken stated that they travelled to Jaipur for the Congress Legislative Party (CLP) meeting that Gehlot had scheduled at a time and date of his choosing, and that it was very strange that the lawmakers did not attend.

Legislators from the Gehlot camp indicated on Sunday that the candidacy of former deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot, who is running against Gehlot in 2020, would be unacceptable, throwing the Congress into disarray in Rajasthan, one of the party’s only two strongholds.

In light of Mistry’s absence, candidates for the Congress’ top post, such as Shashi Tharoor, will file their nominations separately later on Friday, according to people familiar with the situation. The Congress is on the verge of electing its first non-Gandhi president since 1998.

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