Senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge on Friday tendered his resignation as the Leader of Opposition (LoP) in Rajya Sabha as he has filed nomination papers to contest the post of president of his party.
Kharge resigned in line with the party’s Udaipur declaration of ‘One Leader One Post’ of the Congress party taken at its ‘Chintan Shivir’. “I hereby tender my resignation from the post of Leader of Opposition, Rajya Sabha, consequent upon my filing of nomination for the post of President, All India Congress Committee,” Kharge said in his letter to Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi.
The party is currently holding the internal elections for the topmost position, for which yesterday was the last day for filing the nominations.
The 80-year-old leader had received support from nearly 30 Congress leaders including Deepender Hooda, Salman Khurshid, Ashok Gehlot, Digvijaya Singh, Manish Tewari, Prithviraj Chavan, and several others.
According to Congress Central Election Authority chairman Madhusudan Mistry informed that a total of 20 nomination forms were received on Friday and added that the Gandhi family is not supporting any candidate for the party’s president post.
Kharge is a known Gandhi family loyalist, who entered into the fray at the eleventh hour. Several top leaders including from the G-23 faction flanked Kharge when he filed the nomination papers.
Mistry added that 14 nominations were received by Mallikarjun Kharge, five by Shashi Tharoor and one by Jharkhand Congress leader KN Tripathi.
Mistry said that the candidates were in the fray of their own volition and Gandhis are neutral in this contest and are not supporting anyone.
Meanwhile, Congress MP and G23 leader Shashi Tharoor and Jharkhand leader KN Tripathi also submitted their nomination paper for the post of party President at the office of the All India Congress Committee (AICC) in the national capital, yesterday.
Former Madhya Pradesh CM Digvijaya Singh dropped out of the Congress presidential race and extended his support to Kharge, saying that he “cannot think of contesting an election” against a senior leader like Kharge.
Singh was the second Congress leader to pull out of the race after Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot amid political turmoil in his state. Gehlot said he would be the proposer for Kharge.
The results for the party’s chief post will be declared on October 19 after the counting (if required). With the Gandhis not in the running for the top post this time around, the old party is all set to get a non-Gandhi president after over 25 years.