Congress party president elections 'rigged', says Maharashtra Congress secretary Shehzad Poonawalla

Rahul Gandhi is tipped to take over as Congress president in the next few weeks

Poonawalla is deeply disturbed about the absence of democracy and transparency in the Congress and the sense of entitlement of the Gandhi family.

With less than a week remaining before Congress Vice-president Rahul Gandhi could be elected unopposed as the party president, Maharashtra Congress secretary Shehzad Poonawalla stirred the hornet's nest and raised objections over Rahul's coronation. He also asked Rahul Gandhi to resign as Congress vice president and contest the election.

He claimed that he can not contest the party presidential elections as the PCC delegates, who form the electoral college, are handpicked by state Congress presidents, appointed by Rahul Gandhi's mother Sonia Gandhi.

Ahead of what appeared to be clear cut crowning of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, voices of dissent have begun emerging out. We need to strengthen the Congress and allies to win.

Continuing his criticism of the grand old party, Poonawalla alleged that the organisation did not value merit as much as family relations or a "sycophant of the dynasty". The statement issued by the city leaders reads, "Both Tehseen and Shehzad Poonawalla are not even primary members of the party".

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Poonawalla further said: "You failed to deliver on the promise that IYC, NSUI won't end up electing children of "netas". Any grievance could have been put up at appropriate forums. "My wife & I disassociate with him", Tehseen tweeted. "To say I am hurt today is an understatement".

"Which state president of Congress party was elected?"

"I think there should be only one ticket in one family, be it Shehzad Poonawalla or Rahul Gandhi", he added. "Please refrain from tweeting/contacting me for the same", she tweeted. Hours later, his brother, Tehseen, who is married to Robert Vadra's cousin Monicka, reacted by disowning the sibling.

The Congress had raised questions over Poonawalla's stature in the party and slammed him for showing disgruntlement on the eve of election. However, it was expected that Rahul would be elected uncontested and the decision of his elevation could have been announced on 5 December - the last date for withdrawing nominations.

Poonawalla tells Tewari during the conversation that organisational elections right from the booth level were supposed to be held on "secret ballot" but that was never the case.

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