Veteran Congress leader Shashi Tharoor has filed nomination papers to become the next president of the Indian Congress, one of the oldest political parties in the subcontinent. He is the first leader in the formal competition to become the party’s leader. Indian news media have confirmed the information citing Congress sources.

According to NDTV report, Shashi Tharoor has collected nomination papers from Congress MP representative Madhusudan Mistry.

News agency ANI said, Mr. Tharoor requested five sets of nomination papers for the election.

Shashi Tharoor is a prominent member of the Congress G-23 or group of 23 leaders. He is the first person to take the first step towards contesting elections to shoulder the burden of the party after two-and-a-half decades of Rahul-Sonia presidency. But the fight is not easy. If no one from the Gandhi family ends up fighting, Tharoor’s main opponent will be Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlaut, a senior Congress leader and known to be very close to the Gandhi family.

After serving as president for 19 consecutive years, Sonia handed over the responsibility to her son Rahul. Incidentally, after Rahul’s resignation, Sonia again had to take over as the interim president. He still holds that position.

Congress president election will be held on October 17. Tharoor got permission from Mrs Gandhi to contest the election. This is the first time in nearly 600 years that someone whose surname is not Gandhi can be elected as the Congress president. Taroo picked up nomination papers for that fight and stated his claim.

Tharoor’s biggest challenge in this regard is Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, who is a staunch Gandhi family loyalist and is backing Rahul’s return.

Analysts are also fearing a conflict around the election of the Congress president.

(September 24)