Kharge becomes Congress chief, sweeps presidential polls

Veteran politician Mallikarjun Kharge on Wednesday swept the party’s presidential polls, paving the way for him to become the first non-Gandhi chief of the Congress party in over two decades.

The Chairman of the party’s Central Election Committee (CEC), Madhusudan Mistry, declared Mallikarjun Kharge as the elected president of the party.  “The total counted votes were 9,385, of which Mallikarjun Kharge received 7,897 votes and Shashi Tharoor received 1,072 votes. 416 were invalid votes. As per Article 18 (D) of the Constitution of Indian National, I hereby declare Mallikarjun Kharge as the elected President of Congress,” said Mistry.

Kharge’s opponent, Shsahi Tharoor, conceded defeat and went to New Delhi to congratulate the president elect on his victory. He tweeted, “It is a great honour and a huge responsibility to be President of the INC and I wish Kharge ji all success in the task,”

Party leader Rahul Gandhi, during a press conference, referred to Kharge as the party president even before the results were announced. “I can’t comment on the Congress President’s role, that’s for Mr. Kharge (the party’s Presidential candidate) to comment on. The President will decide what my role is…and where I will be deployed. Ask Kharge ji, Sonia ji, “said the Congress MP in Kurnool amid the Andhra Pradesh leg of Bharat Jodo Yatra.”

Meanwhile, other leaders of the party congratulated Kharge.

Party leader Jairam Ramesh said that Kharge’s victory is a triumph for the forces that place ideological commitment over personal glory. “Mallikarjun Kharge has completed 50 years in electoral politics. He has distinguished himself as a legislator and minister in the state and at the centre. “He is a shining symbol of social empowerment inspired by Nehru, Ambedkar, Indira Gandhi, and Devaraj Urs,” Ramesh said in a tweet.

Rajasthan Cong leader Sachin Pilot greeted Kharge and said that he has faith that the latter’s experience will benefit the party
“Mallikarjun Kharge won with a huge majority; a win of democracy. I congratulated him. I’ve faith his experience will benefit the party…9000 elected people elected the President, this was never done before by any party. Opposition must be nervous today,” said Pilot.

Meanwhile, Tharoor’s camp approached the party’s election authorities, alleging that it suspected “extremely serious irregularities” in Uttar Pradesh on the day of the polling and demanded that all votes from the state be deemed invalid.

The new president will take the place of Sonia Gandhi, who has been serving as the interim president after Rahul Gandhi stepped down from the post following the party’s debacle in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

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