New Delhi: Senior Congressman Mallikarjun Kharge submitted his resignation as the Leader of the Opposition (LoP) in the Rajya Sabha on Friday. In accordance with the party's Udaipur declaration of "One Leader, One Post," made at its "Chintan Shivir," Kharge resigned.
In a letter to Sonia Gandhi, the acting president of the Congress, Kharge wrote, "I hereby tender my resignation from the post of Leader of Opposition, Rajya Sabha, consequent upon my filing of nomination for the post of President, All India Congress Committee." The party is now running internal elections for the top position, and the deadline for submitting nominees was yesterday.
Nearly 30 Congressmen, including Deepender Hooda, Salman Khurshid, Ashok Gehlot, Digvijaya Singh, Manish Tewari, Prithviraj Chavan, and others, supported the 80-year-old veteran.
20 nomination papers were received on Friday, said Madhusudan Mistry, chairman of the Congress Central Election Authority, who also stated that the Gandhi family is not backing any candidate for the position of party president.
Kharge, a well-known supporter of the Gandhi family, entered the conflict at the very last minute. When Kharge submitted the nomination paperwork, several influential figures, including those from the G-23 faction, flanked him.
Mallikarjun Kharge received 14 nominations, Shashi Tharoor five, and Jharkhand Congress leader KN Tripathi one, according to Mistry.
Mistry said, the candidates entered the race of their own free will, and the Gandhis are remaining impartial and are not endorsing any particular candidate.
At the All India Congress Committee (AICC) office in the capital yesterday, Congress MP and G23 leader Shashi Tharoor and Jharkhand leader KN Tripathi both turned in their candidacy papers for the position of party president.
Digvijaya Singh, a former chief minister of Madhya Pradesh, withdrew from consideration for the Congress presidential nomination and declared his support for Kharge, stating he "cannot think of contesting an election" against such a senior figure.
In response to the political unrest in his state, Singh withdrew from the race as the second member of the Congress following Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot. Gehlot declared that he will propose to Kharge.
After the votes have been counted, the results for the party's top position will be announced on October 19.
Meantime, Digvijaya Singh, who was previously in the race for the Congress presidential post, announced that he will not contest the party president's poll and would on the other hand propose the candidature of his senior Mallikarjun Kharge.