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Digvijaya Singh likely to run for Congress president's post, claim sources

The Congress presidential polls, in which a non-Gandhi is expected to be elected after more than two decades, have been marred by the Rajasthan political crisis. Ashok Gehlot is also likely to meet Sonia Gandhi on Thursday amid uncertainty over the filing of his nomination.

Digvijaya Singh likely to run for Congress president's post, claim sources

New Delhi: Senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh is also likely to run for the party president's post even as the main opposition party scrambles to find a candidate with barely two days left for the nomination process to end and its president Sonia Gandhi holding consultations with party veterans. The Congress President held a meeting with senior leader and loyalist A K Antony for more than an hour on Wednesday and is understood to have discussed the probable candidates for the Congress president.

The meeting with Antony came days after an open rebellion by Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot loyalists over a possible leadership change in the state, clouding Gehlot's chances of running for the presidency.

The Congress presidential polls, in which a non-Gandhi is expected to be elected after more than two decades, have been marred by the Rajasthan crisis. Gehlot is also likely to meet Gandhi on Thursday amid uncertainty over the filing of his nomination.

According to sources close to Singh, the former Madhya Pradesh chief minister is likely to come to Delhi tonight and file his nomination on Friday. However, they said this is his personal decision and he has not discussed the issue with the party leadership. He is currently participating in the party's 'Bharat jodo yatra' in Kerala.

Senior Congress leader and party MP from Thiruvananthapuram Shashi Tharoor has already declared that he will contest for the party's top post and will file his nomination papers on September 30, the last day of filing the nominations.

Polling for the post will take place on October 17 while the result will be announced on October 19. Meanwhile, Madhya Pradesh Congress chief Kamal Nath in Bhopal said he is not keen on becoming the party president and does not want to contest the election for that post as he wishes to focus on his home state, where assembly elections are scheduled next year.

He also said the elections for the Congress president's post are being held as Rahul Gandhi refused to take up the party's reins. "I talked to Rahul Gandhi and urged him to contest so that all this (ongoing uproar) could be ended. I told him things are getting complicated. But he said he does not want to become (the party president)," Nath told reporters.

When asked why he does not want to contest the polls, Nath said he had gone to Delhi and told Congress president Sonia Gandhi that he would not leave Madhya Pradesh as the assembly elections are only 12 months away.

"I will not take this responsibility because this will take away my focus from Madhya Pradesh. I don't want to divert my focus from Madhya Pradesh," the state Congress chief said.

The new AICC chief will have to first focus on Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, where elections are scheduled soon, and there will be a need to prepare a strategy for every state, the former Madhya Pradesh chief minister said.

The Assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh are due in November next year. Asked whether Gehlot would file a nomination for the AICC chief's post, Nath, known to be close to the Rajasthan chief minister, said, "I don't know."

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