Newly-elected Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge (right) being congratulated by Shashi Tharoor (left), his rival in the election for the post, in New Delhi on October 19, 2022.
Newly-elected Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge (right) being congratulated by Shashi Tharoor (left), his rival in the election for the post, in New Delhi on October 19, 2022.Anupam Gautam/IANS

Mallikarjun Kharge elected as the new Congress President

New Delhi, October 19, 2022

Mallikarjun Kharge was on Wednesday declared elected as the new Congress President, succeeding Sonia Gandhi who has led the grand old party for more than two decades in two terms -- the longest tenure held by anyone in that position.

Sonia Gandhi held the position of Congress President from March 14, 1998 to December 16, 2017 and has again held the post from August 10, 2019. In between, her son Rahul Gandhi held the position for a little less than two years.

Voting in the election for the post was held on October 17 and votes were counted today.

Madhusudhan Mistry, Chairman of the Congress' Central Election Authority and the Returning Officer for the election, told newspersons that Kharge had got 7,897 of the 9,385 votes cast by delegates and Shashi Tharoor, the only other candidate in the fray, polled 1,072 votes. As many as 416 votes were found to be invalid.

"As per article XVIII (d) of the Constitution of Indian National Congress, I hereby declare Mallikarjun Kharge elected as President of Indian National Congress," he said.

Kharge's supporters broke out in celebrations with music and dance and the bursting of fire crackers outside the Congress headquarters here.

Tharoor was among the first Congress leaders to congratulate him and went to meet him at his residence here.

Kharge, 80, is expected to assume charge next week and will become the first person from outside the Gandhi family in more than two decades to hold the position.

The last election was held in 2017, which Rahul Gandhi had won unanimously, whereas the last contested election was held in 2000, when Sonia Gandhi defeated Jitendra Prasada by a huge margin. In 2019, after Rahul Gandhi resigned from the position, the party asked Sonia Gandhi to take over as interim President till the process of the election of the new president was completed.

Born on July 21, 1942, Kharge has a B. A. from the Government Arts and Science College and an LL.B. from the S. S. L. Law College, both in Gulbarga.

He began his career in politics as the president of the Gulbarga City Congress in 1969, after some years in student politics. He was elected to the Karnataka Legislative Assembly nine times between 1972 and 2009 and has served as Minister in the State Government under various Chief Ministers during this period.

He served as President of the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee from 2005 to 2008.

Kharge was elected to the Lok Sabha in 2009 and re-elected in 2014. He served as Union Minister for Labour and Employment and later the Minister for Railways as well as Social Justice and Empowerment in then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's Cabinet.

During May 2014-2019, he served as Leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha.

In June 2020, he was elected to the Rajya Sabha and was the leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha.

NNN

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