New Delhi: Former Jharkhand minister K N Tripathi’s nomination for the Congress presidential election was rejected on Saturday, leaving party leaders Mallikarjun Kharge and Shashi Tharoor in the fray.
The three had filed nominations on Friday, the last day of the process.
The withdrawal of nominations is allowed till October 8 and the final list of candidates will be out at 5 pm on the same day.
Addressing a press conference at the Congress headquarters here, the party’s central election authority chairman Madhusudan Mistry said the panel met for scrutiny of forms on Saturday.
A total of 20 forms were received during the nomination process. Four of them were rejected as signatures were repeated or did not match, he said.
While Kharge submitted 14 forms, Tharoor submitted five and Tripathi one.
“Two candidates – Kharge and Tharoor – are in a direct contest now. One form of another candidate from Jharkhand has been rejected,” Mistry said.
There is a seven-day window for withdrawal of forms till October 8 when the picture will be clearer, he said.
If no one withdraws, the polling will be held, he added.
Mistry said Tripathi’s form was rejected as the signature of one of his proposers did not match and another proposer’s signature was repeated.
While one rejected form was of Tripathi, Mistry refused to divulge who had filed the other three forms that were rejected
Reacting to the development and sharing the list of valid nominations issued by the chief election authority, Tharoor tweeted, “Delighted to learn that, following scrutiny, Shri Kharge and I will be squaring off in the friendly contest for President of Congress. May the Party and all our colleagues benefit from this democratic process!”
According to a notification issued by the party on Thursday, the process for filing nominations for the election was from September 24 to 30.
The polling, if needed, will be held on October 17. The counting of votes will be taken up on October 19 and the results will be declared the same day.
Meanwhile, Kharge has resigned as the Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, sources said on Saturday.
Kharge’s resignation, which the 80-year-old leader sent to Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Friday night, is in line with the party’s declared ‘One person, One post’ principle that was announced at the Udaipur ‘Chintan Shivir’ in May.
Senior leaders P Chidambaram and Digvijaya Singh are learnt to be the front-runners to take on the mantle of Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha.
A Dalit leader from Karnataka, Kharge has emerged as the clear favourite for the Congress president’ post.
More than 9,000 Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) delegates will vote in the election.