Mallikarjun Kharge elected president of Indian National Congress

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Published: 10/20/2022 5:21:04 AM

The Indian National Congress today elected its octogenarian leader and former minister Mallikarjun Kharge as its new president. 

He is the first non-Gandhi chief of the Congress in more than 20 years. 

Mallikarjun Kharge, 80, was elected the party president defeating party's another stalwart Shashi Tharoor, a former junior minister, to replace Sonia Gandhi as president.

Kharge was seen as the favourite to win the contest. According to local media reports that the newly elected congress president will take charge after Diwali festival in the presence of senior leaders in a programme at the Congress headquarters.

Kharge polled 7,897 of the 9,385 votes cast while Tharoor garnered a meagre 1072 while 416 votes were invalid. Chairman of the Congress Election Authority Madhusudan Mistry officially announced Kharge elected.
With the victory of the 80-year-old party veteran, a former nine term state MLA and a three-term MP (twice Lok Sabha and currently Rajya Sabha) being celebrated with festive fervour amid beating of drums at AICC headquarters here.

Humbled by the loss, Tharoor conceded defeat and pledged to work with the new President to take the party forward.

In Andhra Pradesh today, former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi said his future role would be decided by the Congress chief, who is the supreme authority in the party.

Kharge was always tipped to win, with the election tilted in his favour from day one, as evidenced in the list of proposers that included all Gandhi family loyalists even though party chief Sonia Gandhi made it clear that there was no official candidate, media reports said.

Kharge is also the only Congress chief who has been leader of opposition in a state assembly (Karnataka), leader of the party in Lok Sabha and who is now the leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha.

The importance of Kharge's election is multifold as he is the first non-Gandhi to head the Congress in 24 years, after Sitaram Kesri was unceremoniously ousted in 1988 through a Congress Working Committee resolution that invited Sonia Gandhi to become the party chief.

Sonia had become a primary member of the Congress only a year ago at the AICC Kolkata plenary in 1997.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi greeted Mr. Kharge on being elected Congress President. "My best wishes to Shri Mallikarjun Kharge Ji for his new responsibility as of the Indian National Congress. May he have a fruitful tenure ahead," Modi tweeted.

The election to elect the Congress president was held on Monday in which 9,500 out of total 9,900 electors cast their votes.



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