The elections to choose the new Congress Party president are underway with several senior leaders including interim president Sonia Gandhi, former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, party leaders Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Kamal Nath, Ashok Gehlot, and Ajay Maken having cast their ballots.
Former party president and MP Rahul Gandhi cast his vote in Ballari, Karnataka, amid the ongoing Bharat Jodo Yatra.
The battle is between senior party leaders Mallikarjun Kharge and Shashi Tharoor, with the odds in Kharge's favour who is expected to win. The last non-Gandhi president of the party was Sitaram Kesri, from 1996-1998.
The voting is expected to end at 4 pm, and the results will be declared on 19 October.
'Revival of Congress Has Begun'
The electoral college in this election consists of over 9,000 Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) delegates. A total of 75 party delegates including interim president Sonia, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Singh and other senior leaders cast their votes at the All India Congress Committee (AICC) headquarters in Delhi.
While Tharoor said that "the revival of Congress has begun," his rival Kharge asserted that the contest is an internal matter. "Whatever we said to each other is on a friendly note. Together we have to build the party. (Shashi) Tharoor telephoned me and wished me luck and I also said the same," he was quoted as saying by ANI.
Additionally, Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot said that the election gives the message of "internal harmony" within the party. MP Jairam Ramesh claimed that Congress is the only party where the president is elected.
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