New Delhi, Dec 7: Days after Maharashtra Congress leader Shehzad Poonawalla described the imminent election of vice-president Rahul Gandhi as party’s president a sham, another leader on Thursday raised questions over the election process. Party leader Ayub Ali claimed that his nomination papers were rejected by Returning Officer of Congress central election authority Mullapally Ramachandran without any valid reason.

Ali went on to claim that Ramachandran told him that there could no candidate other than Rahul Gandhi.

“On December 3, I went to the Returning Officer of Congress central election authority Mullapally Ramachandran and told him that I would like to stand for the Congress President’s post. Suddenly, he got angry and told me that there will only be one candidate – Rahul Gandhi. He then asked me to leave immediately,” Ayub Ali told ANI.

“Eighty-nine nominees have been proposed for the post from all over the country. There are two sets of nomination papers to be filed with conditions. Still, Ramachandran ji did not accept my nomination. He could have told me whether I had filed my nominations properly or not,” he added. (Also read: Huge Challenges Ahead for Rahul Gandhi as Congress President)

However, Ramachandran rubbished the Ayub Ali’s claims and denied there being any wrongdoing in filing of nomination.

“No nomination was received before December 4. The form shown by Ayub Ali is also of a wrong format. The forms for nomination were only in English and no Hindi form was issued. There is no receipt or my signature on the same. He is just doing cheap publicity.” (Also read: How Rahul Has Been Building His Own Team Ahead of Taking Charge as Congress Chief)

‘Will Back Rahul Gandhi’

Despite not being ‘allowed’ to contest against Rahul Gandhi, Ayub Ali said he would back the elevation of the party vice-president.

“I am not angry with Sonia ji (Gandhi) and will always remain the leader of the party. When Rahul Gandhi takes over, I will respect him and he will also remain our party’s leader. I won’t challenge my nomination in the court. I will not allow Congress party to go down the drains,” Ayub Ali said.   (Also Read: Rahul Gandhi: A Leader Who Likes to Keep His Personal Life Secret)

‘Black Day in Congress History’

A few days ago, Shehzad Poonawalla had dubbed Rahul Gandhi’s election as party chief as “Mughal style coronation” and said it is a “black day” in the history of the grand old party.

Poonawalla, who hit the headlines after he alleged that the organisational election in the Congress was “rigged” and gave Prime Minister Narendra Modi a stick to beat the opposition party with, called the polls “unconstitutional and illegal” that will be challenged “from Delhi to Amethi”.

“My statement on Rahul Gandhi’s Mughal style coronation – Black Day in history of my party…unconstitutional and illegal…will be challenged from Delhi to Amethi,” Poonawalla had tweeted.