Sunday, March 26, 2023

Congress Prez Polls: Kharge or Tharoor, party to elect non-Gandhi after 24 years

The Congress is all set to vote to elect its next president on Monday (October 17) with senior party leaders Mallikarjun Kharge and Shashi Tharoor are pitted against each other.
This will be the sixth time in its nearly 137-year-old history that an electoral contest would decide who would take up the mantle of the party’s president. The voting will be done between 10 am and 4 pm, with the results likely to be declared on October 19. With Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra not in the running, a non-Gandhi would be at the helm after over 24 years.
Even as chief Sonia Gandhi and Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra are expected to vote at the AICC headquarters, Rahul Gandhi will be voting at the Bharat Jodo Yatra campsite in Karnataka’s Sanganakallu in Ballari along with around 40 other Bharat Yatris who are PCC delegates.
Kharge is considered the firm favourite for his perceived proximity to the Gandhis and backing by senior leaders, even as Tharoor has pitched himself as the candidate of change.
The contrast in the campaigns has been stark, while Kharge’s campaign has seen several senior leaders, PCC chiefs and top leaders receiving him at the state headquarters visited by him, Tharoor has mostly been welcomed by young PCC delegates with PCC chiefs mostly absent from his events.
Tharoor has underlined during his campaign that he is the candidate of change while Kharge of status quo. “…Whether Kharge sahab wins it or I win, I am of the view that the Congress should emerge victorious,” Tharoor told reporters at the Uttar Pradesh Congress headquarters.
In an interview with a news daily, Kharge said the party cannot work without the guidance and advice of the Gandhis. Kharge said his priority on being elected, will be to implement the organisational reforms announced at the Chintan Shivir in Udaipur.
Meanwhile, Tharoor, alleged that the contest was not a level playing field in accessing the delegates. He also lashed out at colleagues who were “indulging in ‘netagiri’ and telling party workers” that they know whom Sonia Gandhi “wants” elected.
For those having any “fear or doubt” in their mind, Tharoor said, the party has made it clear that it will be a secret ballot.


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