Congress presidential polls candidate Mallikarjun Kharge on Sunday said he has not entered the polls to oppose anyone but to strengthen the party.
The 80-year-old Dalit leader from Karnataka said that that in accordance with ‘one person, one post’ principle of the party, he resigned as Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha on the day he filed the nomination, i.e, on September 30.
“Many senior leaders of the party have supported my nomination for Congress president post. Many leaders of the party told me that I should contest the elections. Due to their encouragement, I am contesting the elections today,” Kharge was quoted saying by ANI.
He added, “There is no G-23 camp now. All leaders (of G23) want to work together to stay united and fight against BJP-RSS. This is the reason they are supporting me.”
Kharge was speaking at a press conference, with other Congress leaders alongside him – Deepender Hooda, Syed Naseer Hussain and Gourav Vallabh.
Vallabh said that the three Congress leaders have resigned as Congress spokespersons, and will campaign for Kharge in the AICC president polls that is set to be held on October 19.
Kharge also rejected suggestions that the Gandhi family was backing him, saying other leaders of the party are backing him.
Kharge and Tharoor were left in the fray in the Congress presidential poll after former Jharkhand minister K N Tripathi’s nomination was rejected on Saturday, which was announced by Congress Chief Election Authority chairman Madhusudan Mistry.
The last day for withdrawal of nominations is October 8. The polling, if needed, will be held on October 17. The counting of votes will be taken up on October 19 and the results will be declared the same day.
The fate of the person for the post of the AICC chief, which will see a non-Gandhi in the post after 22 years, will be decided by more than 9,000 Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) delegates.