M Kharge vs Shashi Tharoor: Counting Today For Congress Polls

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New Delhi: The first non-Gandhi chief of the Congress in more than 20 years will be named today as the counting of votes for the party’s internal election takes place. Veteran leader Mallikarjun Kharge, seen as a favourite, is facing Shashi Tharoor.

The counting begins at 10 am at the Congress headquarters in Delhi, where sealed ballot boxes have been brought from across the country. Around 96 per cent of the 9,915 eligible leaders had voted in the election held on Monday, the Congress had said.

Mr Kharge and Mr Tharoor have both maintained that the Gandhis are neutral about the election. Mr Tharoor, however, has said that the “odds have been stacked against us as the party leaders and establishment were overwhelmingly with the other candidate”.

The election comes three years after Sonia Gandhi agreed to temporarily lead the party when Rahul Gandhi stepped down, taking responsibility for the two consecutive routs of the party in 2014 and 2019 general elections.

Since Independence, the Congress has mostly been led by a member of the Gandhi family, who were elected unanimously. Elections were held only six times as there was more than one candidate – starting in 1939 when P Sitaramayya, backed by Mahatma Gandhi, lost to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.

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