Congress Votes Now: In the party’s internal elections today, Mallikarjun Kharge and Shashi Tharoor will compete to become the party’s first non-Gandhi leader in over 20 years. Although none of the Gandhis are running, Mr Kharge is seen as the ‘approved’ candidate.
No matter what the results are, Shashi Tharoor and Mallikarjun Kharge are looking forward to working together.
It is my belief that the Congress party is on the verge of revival,” Tharoor said, adding that he is looking forward to working with “friend and senior” Mr Kharge.
Both candidates have reiterated that the Gandhis are not involved. Tharoor, however, pointed out “differences in treatment”, “bias” and an “uneven playing field”. Upon being asked about it, Mr Kharge declined to comment, saying he was just a “simple party worker.”
Congress Votes Now for New Non-Gandhi President
Despite the odds being stacked against us, as the party leaders and establishment were heavily in favor of the other candidate, I am confident the fate of the Congress party rests in the hands of party workers. “I spoke to Mr Kharge today and said whatever happened, we will remain friends and colleagues.”
Shashi Tharoor wished Mr Kharge good luck, and he reciprocated. To build the party, we must work together.
As Shashi Tharoor had said earlier, when he visited the states for campaigning, the state chiefs were “not available”. There are many places, however, where state Congress chiefs and legislators “welcome Mallikarjun Kharge and sit with him… I am not complaining, but do you not see a difference in treatment?” Mr Tharoor had asked reporters.
Kharge says he believes in “collective decision-making” and will follow Gandhi’s guidance. It is not shameful to seek their advice and support, since they have done good for this country. Their advice will benefit the party… so I will definitely seek their advice and support.
Despite nudges from Central leaders, Mr Kharge filed his nomination at the eleventh hour after Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot dropped out.
Gehlot announced his candidacy one day before the nomination period ended. After meeting with Sonia Gandhi, he made the decision to prevent his arch-rival Sachin Pilot from succeeding him. At one point, he declared he could hold “three posts” in the party, the state post and the top job. After Rahul Gandhi announced that the party would follow the “One man, one post” rule, he had to drop the idea.
In 2019, the Congress lost its second straight election after Mr Gandhi stepped down from the top position. Despite unrelenting pressure from party leaders, the 52-year-old has firmly refused to return as president.
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