Senior Congress leader and Dalit face of the party Mallikarjun Kharge seems to have established a clear lead over his rival, Shashi Tharoor in Tamil Nadu for the AICC presidential elections to be held on October 17.
Chennai, Oct 7 (BPNS)
Senior Congress leader and leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge has emerged as the favourite for the AICC president post from Tamil Nadu. This was clear after the meeting held by his opponent, Shashi Tharoor at the state Congress headquarters, Satyamoorthi Bhavan on Thursday.
Of the 710 voters in the Congress electoral college from Tamil Nadu, a handful attended the meeting convened by Tharoor to seek a vote for his candidature. While Kharge has not yet commenced his journey in Tamil Nadu, it was clear in the response Tharoor received in the state as to which side wind was blowing.
Kharge who has more than six decades of grass root political experience is a highly respected Dalit face of the Congress party. While the Gandhi family has not openly favoured any candidate in the election to the AICC president, it is a certainty that the family was backing Kharge and the absence of almost all the senior leaders of the party when Shashi Tharoor arrived at Satyamoorthi Bhavan is a pointer that Kharge is the preferred one.
A senior leader of the Congress party who was a former Member of Parliament while speaking to BPNS said, “ Ordinary party workers will not support Tharoor as there is a feeling that he is inaccessible and out of reach to ordinary party workers. The feedback we receive from his home constituency, Thiruvananthapuram is that he won’t meet common people and has always been seen as an elite.”
He added that Congressmen don’t prefer elite leaders and want grass root, down-to-earth people who know the pulse of the society to run the organization.
However educated middle-class youths had reached Satyamoorthi Bhavan to throw their support to Tharoor but the point is that they are not on electoral list of the Congress party and their support won’t garner votes for the Thiruvananthapuram MP.
Another senior leader of the Congress party who was a state office bearer of the party while speaking to BPNS said, “ Tharoor may be good to be projected to the outside world. He is suave, well-mannered, speaks good English, and has global contacts. But the moot point is what does that fetch for the party. People prefer someone who has connections in the grass root and with cadres. The cadres and sympathizers don’t understand the language of diplomacy, they want someone who knows them and their feelings and Kharge is miles ahead in that.”
With battle lines drawn, a senior leader in the Congress told BPNS that it is a wonder if Tharoor could fetch a sizeable vote share from a total of 710 votes for the AICC president election from Tamil Nadu.