No one's official candidate, don't compare me with Tharoor: Kharge
Congress stalwart Mallikarjun Kharge dismissed speculations about being the party's "official" candidate for the party's upcoming presidential election next week, saying that the perception of a proxy party chief endorsed by the Gandhis had been perpetuated by the media. Kharge in an interview with India Today said that he didn't want to be compared to his poll rival Shashi Tharoor.
Why does this story matter?
- The grand old party is set to hold its presidential election on October 17 to choose a non-Gandhi leader at its helm.
- With other nominees pulling out, the competition now stands between Tharoor and Kharge.
- Tharoor is projecting himself as a 'young' face for the top post while calling for an organizational overhaul and has termed Kharge as the reinforcer of the status quo.
Did not meet Sonia Gandhi during filing nomination: Kharge
Terming himself a grassroots-level worker, Kharge said that he was chosen by the party delegates and asked by the senior leaders to contest the polls. He said that neither did he meet Sonia Gandhi during the process of filing nominations, nor did Gandhi meet anybody else regarding the matter. He said he met with Gandhi during the Rajasthan crisis only to submit a report.
Contesting election because it's an ideological fight: Kharge
What will be the role of Gandhi family after Congress elects its president?— IndiaToday (@IndiaToday) October 12, 2022
EXCLUSIVE | Mallikarjun Kharge (@kharge), Congress president contender, responds@sardesairajdeep @mausamii2u pic.twitter.com/46oraUBhM6
Kharge's agenda is implementation of Udaipur declaration
Kharge said Tharoor is free to go ahead with the 10-point manifesto he has been floating for reforming and decentralizing the party, but his agenda is the implementation of the Udaipur declaration, adopted in May. He said that from being a block unit president, he had worked his way up to the top brass and rhetorically asked if Tharoor was around at that time.
No remote control, party takes collective decision: Kharge
When asked if Congress needed a younger face to revive itself, he said that he was an "organization man" and knew about the skills of each member. He said he would utilize their services as and when needed. Miffed by the tags of "rubber stamp" and "remote control" of the Gandhis, he said that the party takes collective decisions.
Both Kharge, Tharoor leaders of stature: RaGa
Earlier, Rahul Gandhi declared that whoever is chosen to lead the party as its new president would be free to make decisions and manage the party. Gandhi disputed allegations that Kharge and Tharoor would be Gandhi family lackeys, saying that such statements were offensive to them. He said that both leaders are people of stature, and such allegations were disrespectful to them.
Tharoor had earlier offered to publicly debate Kharge
Tharoor, the Thiruvananthapuram MP, earlier said he was open to a public debate with Kharge. However, Kharge refused his offer, saying he didn't want to get into it as he only knows how to work. Tharoor clarified there was no ideological difference between them. Kharge said a consensus for the top post would be better, but Tharoor said a contest was good in democracy.