Congress’ First Non Gandhian Chief to be Declared Today

New Delhi: The grand old party is set to get its first non-Gandhi chief as the poll counting begins at 10 am at party headquarters in Delhi, where sealed ballot boxes have been brought from across the country. Around 96 per cent of the 9,915 eligible leaders had voted in the election held on Monday, the Congress had said. The result is likely to be declared between 3 pm to 4 pm. Five agents from each side will oversee the counting while two agents from both sides will be kept in reserve, sources said.

Mallilarjun Kharge and Shashi Tharoor in the fray have both maintained that the Gandhis are neutral about the election. Kharge, a long-time loyalist of the Gandhi family, is seen as the front-runner in the race. As per critics the party will be remote-controlled by the Gandhis if he wins. Kharge was however, a last minute entrant persuaded by party members after Rajasthan CM Gehlot droppes out.

Meanwhile, Tharoor called for a change in the party strategies to win the upcoming elections. He claimed that odds had been stacked against him and his supporters as the party leaders and establishment were overwhelmingly with the Kharge.

Since Independence, the Congress has mostly been led by a member of the Gandhi family, who were elected unanimously. Elections were held only six times as there was more than one candidate – starting in 1939 when P Sitaramayya, backed by Mahatma Gandhi, lost to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.

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