Gandhi loyalist Mallikarjun Kharge takes charge as Congress president, succeeds Sonia
New Delhi/IBNS: Congress Rajya Sabha MP Mallikarjun Kharge Wednesday took charge as the 98th Congress president succeeding the longest serving party chief Sonia Gandhi, in a formal materialising of the overhaul in the biggest opposition unit of the country.
Eighty-year-old Kharge, a loyalist of the Gandhi-Nehru family that has produced three Prime Ministers, is the first in 22 years to become the Congress president hailing from outside the clan.
Kharge was handed over the election certificate by Congress central election authority chairman, Madhusudan Mistry, in presence of Sonia Gandhi, her politician son Rahul Gandhi and daughter Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who are important members of the party.
Sonia took charge of the party for the last time in 2019 after Rahul stepped down from the Congress chief's post following the party's Lok Sabha poll debacle.
Before heading to the event where he took charge, Kharge Wednesday visited Rajghat in the national capital Delhi to pay tribute to Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, former Prime Ministers, late Jawaharlal Nehru, late Indira Gandhi and late Rajiv Gandhi.
Mallikarjun Kharge paying tribute to Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat, New Delhi | Image Credit: Twitter/Congress
Kharge won the elections over erudite Thiruvananthapuram MP Shashi Tharoor by a huge margin on Oct 19.
The president-elect got 7,897 as opposed to Tharoor's mere 1,072, paving the way to become the second Dalit chief after Jagjivan Ram of the country's oldest political party.
After winning the elections, Kharge, a former Union Minister who has equal proficiency in Hindi and English, gave a message for "unity" to take on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that has led the Congress to the brink of elimination in the political map.
आज निवर्तमान कांग्रेस अध्यक्ष श्रीमती सोनिया गांधी जी और श्री @RahulGandhi जी एवं वरिष्ठ नेताओं की मौजूदगी में भारतीय राष्ट्रीय कांग्रेस के नव-निर्वाचित अध्यक्ष श्री @kharge को CEA के चेयरमैन श्री मधुसूदन मिस्त्री जी ने प्रमाण पत्र प्रदान किया।#CongressPresidentKharge pic.twitter.com/TnRLXhGtaS— Congress (@INCIndia) October 26, 2022
"We all have to work like workers of the party, nobody is big or small in the party.
"We have to unitedly fight against the fascist forces that are attacking the democratic institutions under the garb of communalism," Kharge, who has the record of winning assembly elections for nine consecutive times, said.