New Delhi: The Congress on Thursday responded to reports implying that MP Rahul Gandhi “declared” the party’s president-elect Mallikarjun Kharge as the new party chief even before the result was formally announced, terming them as “erroneous”.
“I can’t comment on the Congress president’s role, that’s for Kharge ji to comment on. The Congress president will decide what my role is and how I am to be deployed,” Rahul Gandhi said during a press conference on Wednesday, as quoted by news agency ANI.
In response to a follow-up question, he can be heard saying, “That you will have to ask Kharge ji and Sonia Gandhi ji.”
According to the tweet, the statement was made while the counting of votes to decide the Congress President was underway.
Now as reports mentioned the incident as Rahul Gandhi “declaring” new Congress president before the result announcement, the party’s General Secretary In-Charge Communications, Jairam Ramesh, defended the Wayanad MP saying that “the direction of voting was quite clear”.
“There have been erroneous media reports that Rahul Gandhi announced Kharge-ji as Congress President during his press meet that began at Adoni at around 1 pm. The fact is that the direction of voting was quite clear before the press meet began,” he wrote on Twitter.
Mallikarjun Kharge was elected the new Congress president, the first non-Gandhi to head the 137-year-old party in 24 years and succeed long-time chief Sonia Gandhi. He bagged over 84 percent of the votes in the presidential election, polling 7,897 Pradesh Congress Committee delegate votes out of 9,385, while his challenger Shashi Tharoor bagged 1,072 votes.
Former Congress leader Ashwani Kumar Wednesday said that the election of Mallikarjun Kharge as party president by a huge margin shows that Sonia Gandhi’s is the last word in the organisation’s internal politics.
“That Kharge was her undeclared choice is indisputable notwithstanding vehement denials by the establishment to the contrary. Sonia Gandhi has once again demonstrated her astute political judgment in using elections to demonstrate the family’s pre-eminence in the party established over long years of exercise of political patronage,” Kumar said in a statement, as quoted by news agency PTI.
According to him, Sonia Gandhi is likely to remain at the helm of affairs till she is active in the party in whatever capacity. He asserts that the situation is so because party persons retain a sense of personal loyalty to her, which extends to the family.