- Mallikarjun Kharge would take charge as the first non-Gandhi chief of Congress in 24 years
- Kharge won the party presidential polls by defeating Shashi Tharoor
- Kharge faces daunting task of reviving party's fortune to fight against BJP
Congress party president: The preparations are at full swing at the Congress headquarters as senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge set to formally take over as the party's president on Wednesday, October 26.
The outgoing party president Sonia Gandhi will pass the baton to her successor Kharge, who would become the first non-Gandhi head of the grand old party.
Earlier on October 19, Kharge won the party presidential polls by defeating Thiruvananthapuram MP Shashi Tharoor with a huge margin.
Kharge was declared the winner as he received 7,897 votes, whereas, his rival Tharoor could only manage to garner 1,072. A total of 416 votes were declared invalid as more than 9,500 party delegates had cast their votes.
According to reports, a stage was being prepared on the AICC headquarters lawns for the Wednesday's event, where Madhusudan Mistry, chairman of the central election authority of the Congress, will formally present the election certificate to Kharge.
According to reports, a number of Congress leaders are expected to be present at the event, including Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi.
Kharge would aim to revive party under his leadership
Kharge assumes leadership of the party as it faces a severe challange from the BJP led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The current responsibility for Kharge, who previously held the positions of leader of the opposition in the Karnataka Assembly, leader of the Congress in the both Houses of the parliament, comes while the party is experiencing a record low.
Kharge's first task would be to restore the Congress to power in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, two states that will hold elections in the coming weeks. He is likely to face a number of challanges in coming days as Congress now remaining in power in only two states -- Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.
Later in 2023, Kharge will face the onerous task of leading the Congress in nine assembly elections that are due including in his home state of Karnataka where he was an MLA for nine terms.
About Mallikarjun Kharge
Kharge was elected MLA nine times in a row, seeing a steady rise in his career graph from humble beginnings as a union leader in his home district of Gulbarga (renamed Kalaburagi).
He joined the Congress party in 1969 and went on to become president of the Gulbarga City Congress Committee.
Beginning his career as chief of the Gulbarga city council, Kharge has also served as a state minister and a Lok Sabha MP from Gulbarga (2009 and 2014). The old warhorse is well known for not losing an election barring the 2019 Lok Sabha poll from Gulbarga.
A leader with more than 50 years of experience in politics, Kharge is also the second All India Congress Committee (AICC) president from Karnataka after S Nijalingappa and also the second Dalit leader after Jagjivan Ram to hold the post.
(With inputs from PTI)