This is the first Congress president election in more than 20 years with non-Gandhis in the contest. The Gandhis have refused to contest making way for other senior leaders to head the party. Mallikarjun Kharge has entered the race for Congress president as the choice of the Gandhis. Veteran leader Digvijaya Singh has opted out, leaving Shashi Tharoor as the only other candidate.
Mr Kharge is likely to resign as Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha in line with the Congress’s “one person, one post”. Tharoor and Kharge filed their nomination. Digvijaya Singh, who collected his nomination papers yesterday, dropped out of the contest after meeting with Kharge. After a late-night meeting, Congress veteran KC Venugopal conveyed to Kharge that the leadership wanted him to contest, despite the Gandhis saying they would remain neutral.
Former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, a key member of the “G-23” group of dissenters who had shot off an explosive letter to Sonia Gandhi in 2020 demanding organisational changes, has backed Kharge for the top post. Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot bowed out of the race after apologizing to Sonia Gandhi for the Rajasthan revolt by MLAs loyal to him. Gehlot was seen as the first choice of the Gandhis for the top post until his chances were damaged by the rebellion by his loyalists who said they would not accept Sachin Pilot, who had rebelled against him in 2020, as his replacement as the Chief Minister.
Kharge is one of the most experienced persons in the Congress and he is a Dalit leader too. Most importantly he was a staunch loyalist of Gandhi.
Veteran Leader Hussain Dalwai stated, “all the Candidates have ability to lead the organization. First time a Dalit Politician like Mallikarjun Kharge contesting in Presidential election. It will be nice to see If he will elect for the Presidential post.”
Senior Leader Ratnakar Mahajan Told us, “Shashi Tharoor and Mallikarjun Kharge Both have Same capabilities and experience despite of age difference. Voting members will decide the next president on his caliber.”
President of Mumbai Congress Bhai Jagtap Said, “Congress believes in democracy, and I think it would be great to see someone other than those who belong to the Gandhi family become the president of Congress.”
MP Bhalchandra Munagekar told to Afternoon Voice, “I very Much appreciate that after a period of about two decades a democratic presidential election for the congress president is being held and there appear to be three candidates for this election for the post of the president. I also appreciate the magnanimity of the present congress president Smt. Soniya Gandhi. I wish all the success to those candidates and in the event of anyone being chosen for the top post of the congress.”