Senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge, a front runner for the post of Congress President formally announced the beginning of his election campaign today.
Kharge addressing a press conference announced his resignation as the Leader of Opposition from the Rajya Sabha. He said, “The day I filed my nomination, I submitted resignation from my post, aligning with the ‘One Person One Post’ decision of the party taken in Udaipur. I officially begin my campaign for the post of Congress party president today”. He was accompanied by Congress leaders Gourav Vallabh, Deepender S Hooda, and Syed Naseer Hussain.
On Saturday, Kharge submitted his letter of resignation as Leader of the Opposition (LoP) in the Rajya Sabha after submitting his nomination to run for party president.
Gourav Vallabh also made an announcement about leaving his position as the party’s official spokesperson in order to support Kharge in the internal elections for Congress.
On his resignation, he said, “All three of us (Congress leaders Gourav Vallabh, Deepender S Hooda, and Syed Naseer Hussain) resigned from the post of official spokespersons to campaign for the election of Mallikarjun Kharge as party president and want this election to be free and fair.”
Furthermore, almost 30 Congress heavyweights, including Deepender Hooda, Salman Khurshid, Ashok Gehlot, Digvijaya Singh, Manish Tewari, Prithviraj Chavan, and others, supported the octagenarian leader Kharge.
Kharge, a well-known supporter of the Gandhi family, threw his hat in at the very last minute. When Kharge submitted his nomination papers, a number of senior leaders, including those from the G-23 faction, accompanied him.
A total of 20 nomination papers were received on Friday, according to Madhusudan Mistry, head of the Congress Central Election Authority. He indicated that the Gandhi family is not backing any particular candidate for the post of Congress President.
Mallikarjun Kharge filed 14 nominations, Shashi Tharoor presented 5, and Jharkhand Congress leader KN Tripathi submitted one, according to Mistry. He asserted that the candidates entered the race voluntarily and that the Gandhis’ are not endorsing any one candidate.
Shashi Tharoor, the leader of G23, has also submitted his application for the position in addition to Kharge. On Saturday, Tharoor compared the Gandhi family to the party’s DNA and said that no party leader could separate himself from the Gandhi family. He also claimed that the reason he is running for president of the party is to bring “change” to the venerable party.
He maintained that the electoral contest between him and Kharge should be left up to the Congress workers and that the contest is “not a fight.” In the contest for the position of Congress president, Tharoor and Kharge face off against one another.
On Friday, the final day for nominations, Digvijaya Singh announced his withdrawal from the race and pledged his support for Kharge. He described Kharge as a senior and well-respected party leader against whom he “cannot conceive of running.”
After Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot declared he would not run in the elections as a result of the political unrest in his state, Singh became the second member of the Congress to withdraw from the campaign. The grand old party is poised to elect a non-Gandhi president after more than 25 years as a result of the Gandhis’ decision not to compete for president.
The results of the Congress presidential elections will be declared on October 19.