Senior Congress leader Mr. Mallikarjun Kharge was on Wednesday elected the Congress’s first non-Gandhi president in 24 years after counting the sixth election contest in its 137-year history after more than 9,500 votes were tied between senior leaders Mallikarjun Kharge and Shashi Tharoor.
The Congress’s first non-Gandhi chief in over two decades, Mallikarjun Kharge, said that the forces which pretend to be democratic but attack democracy must be fought.
“We have to fight the fascist forces. We have to fight the forces that pretend to be democratic but attack democracy,” Kharge said as he addressed the media after his landslide win over Shashi Tharoor.
The Congress, which is fighting to regain its electoral importance in the country following a series of catastrophic poll losses since 2014, has “strengthened the democracy of this country since independence”, he said.
“Today, when every institution is being dismantled and democracy is in danger, Congress with its countrywide election is working towards strengthening democracy,” Kharge added.
The veteran politician who rose through the ranks from a farmers’ leader, thanked party workers and his supporters. “I want to thank Mr Tharoor as well. He was my opponent but we fought against each other well. Now we’ll struggle against divisive powers,” he assured.
Congratulations have been pouring in for the parliamentarian. “Rahul Gandhi is holding bharat Jodo Yatra to unite the country and the entire country is joining him in his march. He congratulated me and told me that he’d keep working as a soldier of the Congress party. Today we’ll have to work together as party workers – no one is big or small here.”
“The party has bestowed confidence on me – a person from a humble background. I’ll try to gain the trust and work to strengthen that trust,” Kharge said.
Over 9,000 Congress delegates across India voted to choose their party chief on October 17. Elaborate arrangements were made for the poll – booths were set up across the country, QR-coded ID cards distributed to voters, secret ballots made and counted. Mallikarjun Kharge emerged as the clear winner with over 7,800 votes in favour versus Shashi Tharoor’s little over 1,000 votes.
“It was a privilege to have received the support of over a thousand colleagues and to carry the hopes and aspirations of so many well-wishers of Congress across India,” Tharoor tweeted, conceding his defeat.