Putting a lid on two-year long speculations, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi filed his nomination papers for the post of party president at Congress headquarters on Akbar Road today. The Congress leader was accompanied by a bevvy of senior party leaders, including former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The party is presently helmed by his mother Sonia Gandhi, who was not present with Rahul. Sonia Gandhi held the party president’s post for 19 years in a row.

Monday is the last day for filing of nominations and the 47-year-old Gandhi scion is the lone candidate in the fray so far, according to Mullapally Ramachandran, the chairman of the party’s Central Election Authority.

Rahul arrived at the Congress headquarters around 10.30 am and filed his papers around 11 am. There were five sets of nomination forms filed on his behalf by top Congress leaders, including CWC members, party general secretaries, in-charge in various states and chief ministers of party-ruled states.

Sonia Gandhi, Motilal Vora, Ahmed Patel, Mohsina Kidwai, Kamal Nath, Ashok Gehlot, Mukul Wasnik, Sheila Dikshit, Tarun Gogoi and Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanaswamy were among those who proposed Rahul Gandhi’s name in the first set of nomination papers. Party leaders Manmohan Singh, Oscar Fernandes, P Chidambaram, Sushil Kumar Shinde, Anand Sharma, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and his Meghalaya counterpart Mukul Sangma proposed his name in the second set of nomination papers.

“Rahul ji has been the darling of the Congress…,” Manmohan Singh told reporters at the All India Congress Committee (AICC) headquarters.

“Congress president Smt Sonia Gandhi has served the Congress party and, through the Congress party, the country for the last 19 years. This is yet another step forward in that direction. Rahul Gandhi will carry on the great traditions of the Congress party,” he said.

Earlier today, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh threw his weight behind Rahul and said that he will make a “very good Prime Minister”. He described Rahul as “mature and competent”

Rahul Gandhi sought the blessings of former president Pranab Mukherjee and Manmohan Singh before filing his nomination, Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala tweeted.

The last date for withdrawal of the candidature is December 11. The poll, if necessary, will be held on December 16 and the counting will take place on December 19.

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