New Delhi: After the senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge was on Wednesday elected the new president of the party, his rival Shashi Tharoor conceded his defeat and congratulated him even before the official announcement of the election results. In a statement, Tharoor said, “I did not pitch myself as a candidate of dissent but change. But change in the manner in which we will do our regular work. There was need for opening up access to party workers. I would stress it is not so much about dissent, but how to make a good party better. We have the conviction and values that are right for the country. There was a sense of disconnect on the part of workers. I hope the election has contributed to giving them a sense of involvement,” as reported by the news agency PTI.
Mallikarjun Kharge defeated Shashi Tharoor by a massive margin in the Congress Presidential election. Kharge became the first non-Gandhi president of Congress after 24 years. As many as 9,500 delegates voted in the election and a voter turnout of 96 per cent was recorded.
A total of 9,385 votes were counted, out of which Mallikarjun Kharge received 7,897 votes and Shashi Tharoor received 1,072 and 416 votes were invalid, Congress Central Election Authority chairman Madhusudan Mistry said in a press conference.
“It is my hope and belief that the family will remain the foundational pillar of the Congress, our moral conscience and ultimate guiding spirit. In particular, the spectacular success of the ongoing Bharat Jodo Yatra is a testament to the family’s enduring appeal to the masses,” said the MP from Kerala who got 1,072 votes against Kharge’s 7,897.
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He said that in a true celebration of inner-party democracy, over 9,500 delegates of the Congress cast their vote in the elections for the post of party president.
“Today, the final verdict has been in favour of Mallikarjun Kharge ji. I would like to convey my warm congratulations to him for his victory. The decision of the party delegates is final and I accept it humbly,” Tharoor said.
The counting of the votes, which was scheduled to begin at 10 am at the AICC headquarters, started around 10:20 am. All sealed ballot boxes from the 68 polling booths set up across the country had been brought to the party office by Tuesday evening and kept in a “strong room” at the party office.