Congress is amongst one of the oldest and well known political parties in India. It started with an ideology of Gandhi ji and after independence also, successors of the Gandhian family have tried to carry forward the legacy set by Gandhian principles.
After independence, it's been 75 years of the Congress party and from time to time, it has been headed by many famous political leaders and thinkers.
Here's the list of Congress presidents after independence -
In the past 75 years, the Congress presidency has been held by the Gandhi family for 42 years. Congress is known to be the party of Gandhi family. Even if they don't hold the president position, their influence in every decision making is quite evident.
Elections for Congress President -
In Congress party election, Mallikarjun Kharge and Shashi Tharoor contested for the post of Congress party president. 96% votes were casted out of 9915 delegates of PCC (Pradesh Congress Committee). Results were declared on 19th October where Mallikarjun Kharge registered a landslide victory in the presidential election. Mr. Kharge who hails from Karnataka and known to be "favorite candidate" of Gandhi family got 7897 votes. Shashi Tharoor got 1072 votes and accepted the election results with a heavy heart. Shashi Tharoor was campaigning for this election for a long time and he presented himself as the "candidate for change". No one was going to contest against him but gradually Ashok Gehlot to many senior leaders' names started popping up for contest in Congress president elections. However, the name of Mallikarjun Kharge was decided very late, he made a last minute entry and registered a landslide victory.
Mallikarjun Kharge - Mr. Mapanna Mallikarjun Kharge is a well known and veteran leader of Congress, he is a prominent figure in politics of Karnataka. He is a Rajya Sabha member since 2021 and also had been "leader of opposition" in 2021 in Rajya Sabha.
Earlier he had been an MP from Gulbarga, Karnataka for 10 years from 2009 to 2019. An interesting fact about Mr Kharge is that he has won elections continuously for 9 times which is a record in itself. In 1972, 78, 83, 85 then 89, 94, 99, 2004, 2008 and also in 2009. His record of winning elections makes him different from others and an appropriate choice for being Congress president. He is a 80 years' old veteran congress leader who has the charismatic persona to bind the Congress leaders altogether and lead the party towards a bright future ahead.
Shashi Tharoor - Shashi Tharoor is an MP since 2009 from Thiruvananthapuram,Kerala. He has also worked at the United Nations as a career official. He has served as ' minister of State for External Affairs' in Manmohan Singh government. Mr. Tharoor's fantabulous oratory skills are well known in the world. His speech in University of Oxford about British rule was praised by PM Modi also. Shashi Tharoor has been of the opinion that the opposition party can also support the ruling party if the ruling party is doing something praiseworthy, this will build up the trust of people in Congress as an honest opposition party. But this opinion was seen as a derogatory remark for Congress and many Congress leaders advised him to leave Congress also. Mr. Tharoor was indeed a "candidate for change" who was able to change the direction and course of the Congress party to gain new heights. But now, he has lost the elections.
Suspicion in election?
Just after the results were announced on 19th October, leader of Congress Salman Soz penned down a letter to Mr. Madhusudan Mistry, the Chairman of Central Election Authority of Congress party election and reported him about the 'extreme serious irregularities' in party elections in Uttar Pradesh. This letter was written on behalf of Mr. Shashi Tharoor. Soon, the letter was leaked on social media and people started talking about it. Mr. Tharoor expressed his dejection on this leaked letter and took it back. He said "let's move on ''. He didn't anticipate it to be leaked. Later he posted a note of felicitations for Mr. Mallikarjun Kharge for winning the party election.
Mr. Tharoor wrote " …..I look forward to working with Congress colleagues to face the challenges ahead. I believe the revival of our party has truly begun today… "
Even before the announcement of election results, it was clear that Mallikarjun Kharge was going to be congress chief and senior leaders of Congress knew the results already. Rahul Gandhi while attending a press conference in Andhra Pradesh commented on it before the announcement of elections. Rahul Gandhi replied to a reporter - "I can't comment on Congress president's role, that's for Mr. Kharge to comment on."
Later he also added - "I am very clear as far as my role is concerned. The president will decide what my role is and how I am to be deployed.. that you have to ask Kharge ji and Sonia ji."
These two statements made by Rahul Gandhi even before the results of party president elections clearly indicate that he already knew the results. Mallikarjun Kharge entered the election in the last minutes and his closeness to Gandhi family depicts the picture as everybody wanted him to win. So, Mallikarjun Kharge was destined to win.