Congress President Election: Why does Gandhi family want Mallikarjun Kharge as Congress President?

The picture of who will be the next President of Congress is almost clear. Mallikarjun Kharge and Shashi Tharoor have only two names in the race for the post of president. Shashi Tharoor will not withdraw his nomination, so it is clear that the elections will be held on October 17. Before the elections, Congress President Sonia Gandhi has said that she will remain neutral in this election.

This means that Kharge is being considered the candidate of the Gandhi family’s choice, despite having no role. If we look at the statements of Congress leaders on the day of nomination and after, it gets more strength. However, the Congress high command is trying its best not to be seen with anyone in the Kharge vs Tharoor case. This can be understood from the statements of Madhusudan Mistry, the head of the Central Election Committee of the Congress Party. The Congress party wants to dispel the notion of Mallikarjun Kharge being the “official candidate” in a contest with Shashi Tharoor for the president’s post.

A day earlier, the Central Election Committee of the Congress Party had issued guidelines regarding the election of the party president. The special thing in this is that if an officer wants to campaign for someone, then he has to resign from his post first. As per the guidelines, all state presidents of the party shall provide meeting rooms, chairs and some other things for the candidates as a courtesy to the representatives, but they cannot convene such meetings in their individual capacity. It states that the meeting of representatives can be called only by the proposer or supporter of the candidate.

There is a buzz in the political circles that Kharge is the Gandhi family’s choice for the post of party president. This direction from the party comes in the background of this perception. Party spokesperson Gaurav Vallabh targeted the Congress, questioning Tharoor’s contribution. The situation worsened on Monday when Telangana unit chief Revanth Reddy did not turn up to meet Tharoor in Hyderabad.

Reddy, however, said why could not meet Tharoor, citing grief in the family. He also said that if Kharge also comes to the state for campaigning, he will not allow the party office bearers to make mistakes. Meanwhile, Shashi Tharoor challenges Mallikarjun Kharge to debate during the election. At the same time, Kharge did not give importance to the matter and said that the Congressmen need to argue unitedly against the BJP and not against each other.

The way Mallikarjun Kharge entered the election and on the last day of nomination Digvijay Singh withdrew his candidature. Thereafter Kharge filed his nomination. Both Tharoor and Kharge filed their nominations for the post of party president, but the difference would be known who stood behind the two at that time. All the big leaders of the party came forward in support of Kharge, while no big leader came forward in support of Tharoor. How did so many leaders come together when Kharge has no support from the party high command? It would be a little difficult to believe this.

Meanwhile, Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot, whose name was last for party president till sometime back, said that Mallikarjun Kharge will win a unilateral victory in the election for the post of Congress president. He has the experience that is needed to run a party and this experience is not with Shashi Tharoor, who comes from the ‘elite’ class.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi may have said that she will play a neutral role in the elections, but the statements made by the leaders and the kind of support she is showing for Kharge raises many questions.