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Published On: Thu, Nov 30th, 2017

Shehzad Poonawalla challenged Rahul’s candidature for Congress Presidential polls

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Shehzad_PoonawallaNEW DELHI : : In a major embarrassment for the Congress party, one of its senior leaders from Maharashtra, Shehzad Poonawalla, has questioned the process to elect party president, calling it “rigged”.”I have got info that the delegates who are going to vote for the party president elections are fixed, its rigged. They have been appointed for their loyalty.”
Shehzad Poonawalla, an office-bearer in Maharastra Congress, has become the first in the party to raise his voice against the elevation of Rahul Gandhi as president. Shehzad currently serves as a Secretary in Maharashtra
On Twitter, he describes himself as a “Nehruvian, Gandhian, Civil Rights Activist, TEDx Speaker and Columnist.” On the account of personal details, he says, “My religion is Islam, culture is Hindu, ideology Indian.”
Speaking to ANI, Poonawalla said, “The upcoming Congress president election is a selection and not an election. Its a sham election process.” I think there should be only one ticket in one family, be it Shehzad Poonawalla or Rahul Gandhi, the Congress leader said.
Poonawalla stated that he was fully aware of the consequences of his actions but maintained that it takes a lot of courage to speak out against what is wrong. Poonawalla, the Maharashtra Congress Secretary, had on Wednesday asked Rahul Gandhi to first resign from his post.
Poonawalla had said he would also contest the election if it was conducted in a “genuine” manner. He had also reportedly written a letter to Rahul Gandhi in this regard.
“I cannot contest a rigged election. If the system is genuine, then I will contest. It is a rigged election…it is a selection. Delegates who are going to vote for this election have not been elected as per the constitutional requirements. They have been handpicked,” he was quoted as saying by news agency .
“I will contest if Rahul Gandhi ji agrees to first have genuinely-elected delegates and not hand-picked delegates. Second, he must give up his post because he has an unfair advantage by being the vice president. He has been selected and not elected as VP.’ he added.
“Will he be ready for a televised debate where we both as contestants can have a debate on what is our vision for the Congress party ? We can be judged on merit, not on the surname,” he said.

“And finally, I want him to accept that our party must have a rule of one family-one ticket. I will be happy to contest a genuine election, not in a rigged election,” the party leader added. In his letter to Gandhi, Poonawalla asked several questions.
“Firstly, a common party worker like me joined the party in 2008-09. I spent time, energy and money working voluntarily for the party at all levels and finally got elevated after eight years to the position of a Secretary in a state unit in 2016.
“But how and why (other than your surname) did you in the same time span start off with an MP seat in 2004 itself, get general secretaryship in 2007 and then graduate to vice-president ship of the national unit while your mother was the President?” he wrote.

“Did you win us more elections, were you genuinely elected to these posts, did you give better speeches than other leaders? You must, therefore, resign from the VP post and contest as an ordinary member for the election of the president. How can it be a fair contest if a common worker has to contest against the VP (who was selected and not elected as the VP or the number two in the party)?” he said.
“Since the delegate system is completely rigged and manipulated, for a fair fight for the presidentship, will you allow real delegates to get appointed and vote rather than a bunch of handpicked ‘yes’ men?
“If not, will you at least face your rival in a televised debate to see who articulates a better vision for the Congress party and India? Will you allow yourself to be judged on merit rather than your surname? If yes, let’s have that contest. I am ready.”
If I have a party ticket or post – my brother, sister, mother, brother-in-law, etc cannot be eligible for a ticket or post. We are not into some family business, are we?” his letter read.
(With IANS inputs).

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