Cong choosing change: Voting begins for a non-Gandhi prez to steer the ship
New Delhi, Oct 17: The voting to elect the next Congress president, the first non-Gandhi in two decades, is underway at the AICC headquarters in Delhi and at party's polling booths in state offices across the country.
Voting began at 10 am with veteran Congress leader P Chidambaram becoming the first to cast his vote at the AICC headquarters.
Over 9,000 Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) delegates form the electoral college to pick the party chief in a secret ballot as senior leaders Mallikarjun Kharge and Shashi Tharoor are in the race to occupy the party's top post.
Thiruvananthapuram MP Shashi Tharoor said the revival of Congress has started and the fate of the grand old party is with the party workers. "I am confident. The fate of the Congress party is in the hands of party workers. The odds have been stacked against us as the party leaders and establishment were overwhelmingly with the other candidate," ANI quoted Tharoor as saying to mediapersons at Kerala's Thiruvananthapuram.
On his turn, Kharge said that whatever they said to each other in the recent past was "on a friendly note."
"It is a part of our internal election. Whatever we said to each other is on a friendly note. Together we have to build the party. (Shashi) Tharoor telephoned me and wished me luck & I also said the same," the Congress presidential candidate Mallikarjun Kharge said in Bengaluru.
Meanwhile, many leaders including Sonia Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh have cast their votes.
When media asked Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi over the poll, she said, "I have been waiting for a long time for this thing,".
The poll for the Congress president post was last held in 2000 in which Sonia Gandhi was pitched against Jitendra Prasada. In the election, Sonia bagged 7,448 of the 7,700 votes while Prasada managed to get only 94. The remaining votes were invalid or not polled.