Two decades after Sonia Gandhi defeated Jitendra Prasada in the Congress presidential election, the party voted on October 17 to elect a new president. During this period, elections were unanimous as nobody opposed Smt Sonia Gandhi and Shri Rahul Gandhi in 2017.
Preparations to hold the election had started in 2019 itself but had been stalled by the pandemic and the lockdown, points out Madhusudan Mistry, chairman of the central election authority of the Congress.
Here are 10 details about the election shared by the party on Monday:
The process of the election of the Congress President included election of delegates from blocks upwards, selection in every state of Returning Officers and Assistant Returning Officers, delivering QR coded voters’ ID card to the delegates and setting up 36 polling booth across the country.
The media and camera crew were given access to the polling booths to record the proceedings in the interest of transparency. At every step, the media was briefed and the process explained.
Provisional figures after voting closed on October 17 showed that 9, 497 delegates out of the eligible 9,915 delegates had cast their ballots.
Voters included former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, Congress president Sonia Gandhi, past president Rahul Gandhi and senior party leaders like P. Chidambaram and the two candidates in the fray, Shashi Tharoor and Mallikarjun Kharge.
A container accompanying the Bharat Jodo Yatra was converted into a polling booth and 50 Bharat Yatris were reported to have cast their ballot at the booth.
At the booth set up at the AICC headquarters in New Delhi, 87 delegates cast their vote.
No complaints were received on the polling day from any of the 36 voting centres across the country.
The paper ballots, shown to the candidates, polling officials and the media earlier, carry the names of the two candidates and voters were expected to put a tick mark against the name of their choice. The ballots have nothing to indicate who voted for whom.
Before counting on October 19, ballot papers from all the states will be mixed first so that the tick marks do not provide any inkling of which candidate received how many votes in which state.
The central election authority had received two kinds of complaints before voting. One related to the level-playing field, which were addressed. The second related to some PCC presidents and delegates not turning up to listen to one or the other candidate during their campaign. Shri Madhusudan Mistry explained that the party or the election authority had issued no direction to delegates to attend or not attend any meeting.