Five Congress MPs have written to the party’s internal election body chief expressing concerns about transparency and fairness in the upcoming polls for the president’s post, PTI reported on Saturday.
The Congress will hold an election to pick its next party chief on October 17. The result will be declared two days later.
In a letter dated September 6, Congress Lok Sabha members Shashi Tharoor, Manish Tewari, Karti Chidambaram, Pradyut Bordoloi and Abdul Khaleque have urged Madhusudan Mistry, the chairman of the Congress Central Election Authority, to provide a list of the party’s state unit delegates who make up the electoral college.
“In case the CEA [Central Election Authority] has any concerns with respect to releasing the electoral rolls publicly, it must put in place a mechanism to securely share this information with all electors and potential candidates,” the letter said, according to PTI.
Last month, Tewari, Chidambaram and Tharoor had demanded that the electoral rolls be made public to ensure transparency.
But, Mistry had said that the electoral rolls cannot be put out on the public domain as there was no precedence. He had also said that the presidential polls were an internal matter of the party and rivals of the Congress could misuse the list of electors if it is made public, The Indian Express reported.
However, in the letter dated September 6, the five Congress MPs told Mistry that his stance was an “erroneous interpretation” of their demands.
“We are not suggesting that any internal document of the party should be released in a manner that may give an opportunity to those who wish us ill to misuse the information contained therein,” the five MPs wrote, PTI reported.
The letter came to light at a time when Congress MP Rahul Gandhi is leading the party’s Bharat Jodo Yatra – a 3,570-kilometre-long tour that will cover 12 states and two Union Territories in about five months.
On Friday, the third day of the tour, Gandhi said that he would speak on his plans about contesting the polls when they happen.
In July 2019, Gandhi had resigned as the Congress chief following the party’s poor performance in the Lok Sabha elections. The Congress had won only 52 of 543 parliamentary seats in the polls.
On August 22, reports claimed that Rahul Gandhi has refused to contest the election for the Congress president’s post. Incumbent Congress president Sonia Gandhi also reportedly expressed her desire not to continue in the post citing health reasons.
Since then, several Congress leaders including Rajya Sabha MP Mallikarjun Kharge, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and Salman Khurshid have urged Gandhi to reconsider his decision and become the party chief again.