Senior Congress leader and Member of Parliament Shashi Tharoor will file a nomination for the post of party President on September 30, according to sources.
This will be the first time in 25 years that Congress will see a non-Gandhi chief after Sonia Gandhi defeated Jitendra Prasad in 1998. The last time the party had a non-Gandhi chief was in 1996 when Sitaram Kesri defeated Sharad Pawar and Rajesh Pilot.
Chairman of Central Election Authority Madhusudan Mistri will be available in Congress headquarters in the national capital to take the nomination papers as returning officer of the election.
According to the notification released by the Congress Party, elections for the party's new president are slated to be held on October 17 at all PCCs, whose results shall be announced on October 19, immediately after the counting of votes. The final list of candidates will be released at 5 p.m.on October 8. Mistry has called upon the delegates of the Congress party to elect the President of the Indian National Congress in accordance with the provisions made under Article 18.
There were speculations that Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot was keen to contest for the party's topmost position but he cleared the air over his nomination for the All India Congress Committee (AICC) presidential election.
Congress leader Digvijay Singh on Friday said that he was not in the race for the party chief. Addressing a press conference in Jabalpur, the veteran leader said that he would not contest the Congress Presidential election, but he would follow the instruction given to him by the higher authority in the party.
There is an intense build-up to the Congress president election after Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot confirmed his candidature on Friday. Gehlot also confirmed that Rahul Gandhi has made it clear that "no member of the Gandhi family" would become the next party chief.
Meanwhile, with Digvijay Singh's clarification, Ashok Gehlot and Shashi Tharoor are the top contenders for the post now.
Describing the post of Congress president as an "ideological post", Rahul Gandhi said the position "represents a set of ideas and belief system and vision of India".