A day after filing nominations for the post of Congress chief, senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge has resigned as the Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, ANI reported. Kharge’s resignation is in line with the party’s declared ‘One person, One post’ principle that was announced at the party’s Udaipur ‘Chintan Shivir’ in May.
The 80-year-old Dalit leader from Karnataka submitted his resignation from the post of LoP in Rajya Sabha to Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday night.
“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,” Kharge said in the letter, as quoted by ANI.
It is speculated that P Chidambaran or former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister and senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh could likely be the front-runners to take on the mantle of LoP in RS.
Kharge on Friday filed his nominations for the October 19 All India Congress Committee (AICC) elections, which will be held in 22 years, and for the first time will see contest from leaders outside the Gandhi family. The Gandhis have chosen to stay neutral in the AICC elections.
Friday was the last day for filing nominations, and the leaders who will be contesting are Kharge, Kerala MP Shashi Tharoor and Jharkhand Congress leader KN Tripathi.
Kharge, a Gandhi family loyalist, entered the fray for the AICC president elections in the eleventh hour, after Digvijaya Singh opted out of the race, endorsing Kharge for the role.
Congress Central Election Authority Madhusudan Mistry a total of 20 nomination forms were received on Friday. He added that the Gandhi family is not supporting any candidate for the top post.
Mistry added that 14 nominations were received by Kharge, five by Tharoor and one by Tripathi.
Kharge’s proposers are party heavy weights including Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot, Digvijaya Singh, A K Antony, Ambika Soni, Mukul Wasnik as well as members of the G-23 camp, who had asked for “sweeping” internal changes in the party, Anand Sharma, Bhupinder Hooda, Prithviraj Chavan and Manish Tewari.
The date of scrutiny of nomination papers is on October 1, while the last day of withdrawal would be on October 8.
Election, if any, will be on October 17, and results will be declared on October 19.