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Congress president election: Sonia Vs Kesri | Indira Vs Kamaraj; a look back at non-Gandhi president & Gandhis

Congress president election: Political analysts say it would not be easy for a non-Gandhi president to keep the party united as Congress supporters take Gandhi family as an axis of the party.

Written By: Raju Kumar @rajudelhi123 New Delhi Updated on: October 29, 2022 21:31 IST
The relationship between the non-Gandhi Congress president
Image Source : FILE The relationship between the non-Gandhi Congress president and the Gandhi family had not been very healthy in past.

Congress president election: Grand old party Congress that is facing one of the most challenging phases in its political journey post-independence due to the unprecedented rise of its prime rival Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP), is conducting voting for electing a president between two contenders- Mallikarjun Kharge and Shashi Tharoor, hoping a revival in national politics.

Congress is set to have a non-Gandhi president in more than 24 years. Over 9,000 Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) delegates form the electoral college exercised their voting rights to pick the party chief in a secret ballot. The voting is underway at the AICC headquarters in New Delhi and at over 65 polling booths across the country in an electoral contest that is taking place for the sixth time in the party's 137-year history.

Critics blamed Gandhis' (Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi)’s leadership for the party’s decline post-2014 General Elections.

Evidently, Gandhis failed to counter the formidable Narendra Modi-Amit Shah-led BJP. The saffron party has been virtually running ‘Congress-Mukta Bharat’ campaign across the nation. In response to BJP’s aggressive campaign, Congress miserably failed to pose a counter initiative. As result, even within the party (A rebel group- G-23) questioned Gandhis' leadership. 

If we look back, PV Narasimha Rao in 1990s and K Kamaraj before commencing of Indira era had been a successful party president. 

Meanwhile, many Congress supporters feel apprehensive about whether a non-Gandhi can keep the party united as they consider Gandhis as an axis of the party. if we turn the pages of Congress history book, we found Gandhis' relation with non-Gandhi party presidents was not so healthy. Neelam Sanjiva Reddy and K Kamaraj were challenged by India Gandhi when they were party presidents. The political battle between Syndicate faction and Indira Gandhi is well known.

In the late 1990s, Sitaram Kesri was ousted from party president post unceremonially. His bitter relationship with Gandhis hit headlines for several wrong reasons. Considering party history, it would be interesting how the upcoming non-Gandhi president deals with Gandhis. However, Kharge and Tharoor said that Gandhis cannot be sidelined even under non-Gandhi regime. 

Here, take a look at non-Gandhi Congress presidents post-Independence

  • 1948–1949 Bhogaraju Pattabhi Sitaramayya
  • 1950 Purushottam Das Tandon
  • 1955-1959 U. N. Dhebar
  • 1960-1963 Neelam Sanjiva Reddy
  • 1964-1967 K. Kamaraj
  • 1968-1969 S. Nijalingappa
  • 1970–1971 Jagjivan Ram
  • 1972–74 Shankar Dayal Sharma
  • 1975–77 Devakanta Barua
  • 1977–78 Kasu Brahmananda Reddy
  • 1992 1994 P. V. Narasimha Rao
  • 1996–1998 Sitaram Kesri

Also read: Congress president election LIVE Updates: Kharge vs Tharoor; party votes to elect new chief 

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