New Delhi (Agency): Mallikarjun Kharge was elected as the new Congress president on Monday after he secured 7,897 out of the 9,385 votes polled. His rival, Shashi Tharoor, however sprung a surprise by securing 1,072 votes.
Mr. Kharge (80) is the first non-Gandhi leader after 24 years to occupy the party’s top post.
Making the formal announcement, Madhusudan Mistry, Chairman of the Central Election Authority, said: “As per the Article 18D of the constitution of the Indian National Congress, I, Madhusudan Mistry, hereby declare Shri Mallikarjun Kharge as the President of the Indian National Congress.”
While the figure for Mr. Tharoor was a little over the 10% mark of the total votes polled, his performance was impressive considering that Mr. Kharge was seen as the “establishment candidate”, backed by the Gandhi family.
“It is a great honour & a huge responsibility to be President of @INCIndia & I wish @Kharge ji all success in that task. It was a privilege to have received the support of over a thousand colleagues, & to carry the hopes & aspirations of so many well-wishers of Congress across India,” tweeted Mr. Tharoor.
Mr. Tharoor as well his election manager Salman Soz sought to downplay reports about his team complaining about the unfairness of the polling process.
“In light of complaints from our UP team yesterday, we wrote to @INCIndia’s CEA immediately, a standard practice. Subsequent discussions with the CEA have assured us of a fair inquiry,” Mr Soz tweeted.
On Tuesday, The Hindu had reported that though there were three All India Congress Committee (AICC) secretaries were in Lucknow but they were not allowed to vote. “We have made a point by point response to those queries after preparing a report. This is an internal matter and I would not be making our public,” Mr Mistry told reporters.
Amid celebrations by Youth Congress Workers at the party headquarters, congratulatory messages poured in for the new party chief.
“Shri. Kharge’s victory in the Congress presidential election is a triumph for the forces who place ideological commitment over personal glory,” Congress communication chief Jairam Ramesh tweeted.
“Kharge has always avoided flamboyance and has been the quintessential organisation man working in a self-effacing manner to advance the collective interests of the Congress party. He has the good wishes of all Congressmen and Congresswomen,” Mr.Ramesh added.
More than 9,500 delegates cast their votes in the presidential election which took place at the culmination of the party’s organisational polls. (Courtesy: The Hindu)