Cong President Kharge Will Decide My Role: Rahul

| Updated: October 20, 2022 3:41 pm

Expected as it was, Mallikarjun Kharge defeated Shashi Tharoor by a massive margin of 6,825 votes to succeed Sonia Gandhi as the Congress party’s first non-Gandhi president since 1998. The 80-year-old party veteran from Karnataka, widely seen as the unofficial pick of the Gandhi family in the contest, polled 7,897 (84.14 percent) votes against the 1,072 (11.42 percent) votes secured by the 66-year-old Lok Sabha MP from Kerala’s Thiruvananthapuram.

Of the total 9,385 votes, 416 votes were declared invalid.

The over 11 percent vote share that Tharoor got reflects the vote for change in the party.

Tharoor was among the first to reach Kharge’s residence to congratulate him. Outgoing Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her daughter and AICC general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra too drove to Kharge’s 10, Rajaji Marg home to wish the party president-elect.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter to wish Kharge. “May he have a fruitful tenure ahead,” he tweeted.

Asked what role he and his mother would play now, Rahul Gandhi, who was in Andhra Pradesh on Wednesday for his Bharat Jodo Yatra, said, “…my role, of course, I cannot comment on Congress president’s role… that is for Mr Kharge to comment on. I am very clear as far as my role is concerned. The Congress president will decide my role and how I am to be deployed. But as far as the Congress party is concerned, the final authority in the Congress party is the Congress president.”

The 80-year-old veteran — the second leader from the Dalit community after Jagjivam Ram to become Congress president post-independence and the sixth leader from the South to helm the party in the last 75 years — has the onerous task of injecting fresh life into the grand old party and reviving it electorally. He will formally assume charge on October 26.

“We will continue to look to them (Sonia and Rahul) for their guidance,” said Kharge. “We all have to work together like workers. No one is superior, no one is inferior. We are all equal. Together, we have to fight against the attack on the Constitution and the conspiracy to destroy democracy. We have to fight against the fascist forces who, under the guise of communalism, are attacking every democratic institution of the country. We will strengthen the organisation and we will face these challenges,” he said.

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