It is Kharge vs Tharoor as 9,200 Congress delegates get set to choose new president
New Delhi, Oct 17: The 37th president of the Congress party will be elected today with 9,200 party delegates expected to cast their votes. The battle is between senior Congress leaders, Mallikarjun Kharge and Shashi Tharoor.
The voting would take place in all Pradesh Congress offices and the AICC headquarters at 24 Akbar Road today. The last such election took place 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.
While many see Kharge as a clear winner, Tharoor is expected to give a tough fight as he enjoys support from the younger section of the party. Sonia and her children Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi are also set to participate in the elections. Rahul will cast his vote at a special polling booth at the party's Bharat Jodo Yatra campsite in Sanganakallu, Karnataka.
It is not the first time that a non-Gandhi leader is contesting for the party presidency post-Independence, Jitendra Prasad contested for the post of president about 22 years ago against Sonia Gandhi in which Sonia emerged as a winner holding the mantle of the party for 20 years.
The leaders have to go to the Congress headquarters of that state to cast their vote. Apart from the Congress headquarters in the states, the voting facilities will also be available at the party's central headquarters at 24 Akbar Road. In Delhi, those delegates can cast their vote who have obtained prior permission from the Central Election Authority to cast their vote in Delhi instead of their own state.
Congress Working Committee members including Sonia Gandhi, Manmohan Singh and Priyanka Gandhi and some senior leaders will vote in the booth at the Congress headquarters. About 40 delegates involved in the Bharat Jodo Yatra, including Rahul Gandhi, will be able to cast their vote in the camp itself. A polling station is being set up at the Sanganakallu campsite in Bellary.
Tharoor and Kharge will cast their votes in their respective state's headquarters Trivandrum and Bengaluru, respectively. The ballot boxes from all the states will be brought back to Delhi where the results will be announced after the counting of votes on October 19.
"There's no problem with our ideology but I want to bring a change in our way of work... Mallikarjun Kharge is an experienced leader, if he wins, we'll work in cooperation naturally," Congress Presidential candidate Shashi Tharoor said ahead of the polls tomorrow.
Kharge, "It's my duty to strengthen the org & fight vindictive policies of BJP-RSS, they're dividing the country on basis of religion; they're dividing the backwards, scheduled castes, minorities. They see everything through an election point of view." "We've to fight from parliament to street. It's difficult as unemployment& inflation are there, GDP growth is falling, value of rupee is going down, petrol-diesel & essential commodities' prices are going up,' he added.