Decoding Congress presidential election

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The election to choose the next Congress president is scheduled to be held on Monday – October 17 – across the country between 10am and 4pm.

POLLING:

Interim Congress chief Sonia Gandhi along with a host of AICC general secretaries, state in-charges, secretaries and joint secretaries are likely to cast their votes at 24, Akbar Road – the party headquarters in the national capital.

Apart from the Congress headquarters in Delhi, polling will take place at all Pradesh Congress Committee offices across India.

BOOTHS:

According to the Congress’ central election authority (CEA) members, there will be 36 polling stations and 67 booths. There will be one booth for every 200 voters.

Due to the ongoing Bharat Jodo Yatra, special arrangements have been made and around 47 people, including Rahul Gandhi will cast their votes at the camp site of the rally.

DELEGATES AND QR-CODED ID CARDS:

There are more than 9,000 delegates to the electoral college who are eligible and will cast their votes across the country. For the first time, special QR-coded ID cards have been distributed to the delegates by the CEA. Those delegates who have the QR-coded ID cards will be allowed to cast a vote. The party has enrolled around 6 crore new members.

The Congress’s data department chief, Pravin Chakravati, told India Today TV that in the 140-year history of the Congress, this is the first time that QR-coded ID cards – on the lines of Election Commission of India’s voter ID cards – are being used. Without this card, the delegates would not be allowed to cast their votes. The ID card has been brought in to ensure transparency.

The entire process of printing these cards was closely guarded. Each and every party worker and leader was mapped by the party’s data department. The entire process began in October last year and included digital members too.

The digitally-printed cards were brought to Delhi by Chakravarty in a suitcase weighing 30 kg and were handed over to the Central Election Authority and they were distributed to the delegates.

SECRET BALLOT:

The polling will take place by way of secret ballot. The ballot papers and boxes have already been dispatched by the CEA and elaborate arrangements have been made at the PCC offices for the polling day.

Through this secret ballot polling process, no one will know who voted for whom.

CANDIDATES:

There are two candidates – veteran leader Mallikarjun Kharge and Thiruvananthapuram MP Dr Shashi Tharoor. Earlier, Ashok Gehlot and Digvijaya Singh had also announced that they would file their nominations. However, Singh backed out and became the proposer for Kharge.

Several party leaders, including many G-23 members, became proposers for Kharge. Although Tharoor also enjoys a huge fan following among young Congress leaders, his proposers included Congress MPs Karti Chidambaram and Pradyot Bardoloi.

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ELECTION CAMPAIGN THEMES:

The campaign being run by Tharoor is called “ThinkTomorrowThinkTharoor”. The official theme of Kharge’s campaign is #KarykartaKharge and #KarykartaSeCongressKarykartaKharge

ELECTION SCHEDULE:

The nomination for the Congress’s presidential poll was from September 24 to September 30. Both Kharge and Tharoor filed their nomination papers on September 30. Both didn’t withdraw, finally setting the stage for the contest on October 17. The counting of votes will take place on October 19 and the result will also be announced on that day. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the elections were delayed and finally the CWC gave the green signal for elections to be held this October.

BHARAT JODO YATRA AND CANDIDATES:

Both Kharge and Tharoor joined Bharat Jodo Yatra in their respective states. Tharoor walked with Rahul Gandhi in Kerala, especially in Thiruvananthapuram, whereas Kharge joined Gandhi in Bellary, Karnataka on the occasion of completion of 1000 km of the party’s padyatra.

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