NEW DELHI: Veteran Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge officially takes charge as the party president at the All India Congress Committee headquarters in the national capital. ‘It is an emotional moment for me, want to thank Congress people for making a worker’s son, ordinary worker, president of the party,’ Kharge said. Kharge while admitting that it is a ‘difficult time for the party’ said that all efforts are being made to change the democracy established by Congress.
The newly-elected Congress chief, KHarge, has vowed to fight against the ruling BJP for a post-Congress India. He also appealed to people not aligned with his party to jong hands for saving democracy. ‘In new India, Godse is called a patriot and Mahatma Gandhi is an anti-national,’ he said.
The ceremony was attended by Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and other senior leaders and MPs. Kharge paid homage to Mahatma Gandhi at his memorial, Rajghat. He also visited memorials of former prime ministers Jawaharlal Nehru, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi.
Kharge is the first Congress president elected outside the Nehru-Gandhi family in 24 years. He will be the second leader from Karnataka to hold the top party post after S Nijalingappa became the Congress president in 1968. A man of vast organisational and administrative experience, Kharge entered the electoral fray for the party’s top post after Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot opted against contesting.
With more than 50 years of experience in Indian politics, Kharge is a seasoned politician. In the past, Kharge, a vocal opponent of the BJP-led administration, has criticised the administration’s policies. To develop tactics for a Congress rebirth in the states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, the nation’s economic and political centre, will be extremely difficult for him.
While the assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat, which will take place later this year, pose Kharge’s most immediate challenges, several other states, including his home state of Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Rajasthan, will hold elections the following year before the crucial contest in the 2024 general election. The Congress disaster in the Punjab and Uttarakhand assembly elections earlier this year has been attributed to the decisions made by the party leadership in both states, despite the fact that many top party leaders have left the party in recent months and years. Rahul Gandhi, the leader of the Congress and currently on the Bharat Jodo Yatra, said Kharge will decide his position.