National Politics

1 year of Mallikarjun Kharge as Congress Chief

Mallikarjun Kharge

“Mr. Kharge comes from a very poor background, which is clearly visible in the decisions he makes,” Mr. Sachin Sawant said.

Exactly one year ago, on October 26, 2022, Congress veteran Mallikarjun Kharge took charge as the President of India’s oldest political party, the Indian National Congress. Kharge became the first non-Gandhi to hold the position after 24 long years.

The 80-year-old emerged victorious against his opponent Shashi Tharoor by a huge margin. Kharge received a whopping 7,897 votes in the presidential contest, while Tharoor could only garner 1,072 votes. In this article, let’s discuss the changes that have occurred for the Grand Old Party since then.

First Electoral Victory in Less than 2 Months: In less than two months of Kharge assuming office as Congress chief, the party tasted victory in Himachal Pradesh after losing 18 Assembly elections since 2018, dethroning the BJP. Besides, the victory was also special for the Congress, as the saffron party’s chief, J.P. Nadda, also hails from the state.

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Leading the Campaign in Karnataka: Although Rahul Gandhi had campaigned in the state, the 80-year-old Mallikarjun Kharge was seen leading from the front in his home state. His aggressive campaigning and effective communication among the party cadre, along with ensuring that the narrative does not shift from anti-incumbency, resulted in a comfortable victory for the Congress.

Mediator: Be it Siddaramaiah-DK Shivkumar in Karnataka or the age-old Pilot-Gehlot conflict in Rajasthan, Kharge, with his experience, has been successful in mediating internal conflicts. In Karnataka, where Siddaramaiah was appointed the CM, the equally deserving D.K. Shivkumar was appointed as the sole DCM and was asked to continue as the party’s state unit chief. In Rajasthan, an upset Sachin Pilot was appointed to the Congress Working Committee, which ensured a ceasefire ahead of polls in the state.

Cohesiveness: The party has seen greater cohesiveness since Kharge took over as Congress chief. Many party leaders who would often complain that the Gandhi family was not accessible found an ear to listen.

New Team: In August 2022, Kharge reconstituted the Congress Working Committee. While Gandhi family loyalists were included, new invitees like Harish Rawat, Pawan Bansal, Ramesh Chennithala, Kanhaiya Kumar, Mohan Prakash, K Raju, Chandrakant Handore, Meenakshi Natarajan, Phulo Devi Netam, Sudeep Roy Burman, Damodar Raja Narasimha, Gurdeep Sappal, and Sachin Rao were also added. Displaying internal democracy in the party, almost all members of G-23, the group that had demanded internal elections and reforms in the party, have found a place in the revamped CWC. While Anand Sharma, Mukul Wasnik, and Mr. Tharoor are CWC members, other G-23 members, including Manish Tewari and Veerappa Moily, have been made permanent invitees.

Not a Rubber Stamp: Initially, when Kharge took over as Congress chief, many believed that he would be a rubber stamp of the Gandhi family. However, things clearly look different on the ground. A senior leader of the Congress, who wished not to be named while speaking to HW News English, said, “Mr. Kharge is at the helm of the party and has a strong hold on the party. His experience is known and respected by even the Gandhi family.”

Respected by all INDIA Members: One of the most senior members of the 26-party INDIA alliance, Kharge is not just respected but also enjoys great camaraderie with almost all leaders. One recent example is of Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav. Days ago, SP chief Akhilesh Yadav had lashed out at the Congress, alleging betrayal in Madhya Pradesh over an alliance for the assembly elections. However, days later, the Samajwadi Party boss said that his party didn’t have any differences with the grand-old party and that their INDIA alliance was very strong. Sources say Kharge had called Yadav and resolved the matter.

HW News English also spoke to the MPCC general secretary Sachin Sawant about the challenges in front of Mr. Kharge ahead of the 2024 elections. Mr. Sawant said, “It’s not a challenge only for Mr. Kharge; it’s the question of whether our democracy will survive or not.” Mr. Sawant further said, “In such a crisis situation in front of the country, Mr. Kharge is providing the kind of leadership that is needed.”

“Mr. Kharge comes from a very poor background, which is clearly visible in the decisions he makes,” Mr. Sachin Sawant said.

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