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Will seek Gandhi family's advice if elected as pres: Kharge

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Mallikarjun Kharge
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Mallikarjun Kharge was the leader of the Congress in the last Lok Sabha/File Photo

Bengaluru: Senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge, who is running for party president, said that he is not ashamed to take advice and support from the Gandhi family if he is elected to the high seat. Replying to a query about talks that he would be under the remote control of the Gandhi family if elected to the helm, he said that the family had spent their strength struggling for the party's growth, PTI reported.

Addressing the media in Bengaluru on Sunday, Kharge stated that he is the "delegates' candidate' in this presidential election, which is scheduled on October 17.

He said, "They say such things as there is nothing else to tell. BJP indulges in such a campaign, and others follow it. Sonia Gandhi has worked for 20 years in the organisation...Rahul Gandhi was also president...they have struggled for the party and put their strength for its growth."

He said that the Nehru-Gandhi family has contributed immensely and sacrificed for this country, from Jawaharlal Nehru to Indira Gandhi to Rajiv Gandhi to Sonia Gandhi.

"Just because we (Congress) lost a few elections, saying such a thing (against Gandhis) is not right. They have done good for this country, their advice will benefit the party, so I will definitely seek their advice and support. There is no shame in it. If something benefits from your (media) advice, I will take it as well. They have worked for this party, and taking their advice is my duty."

"Further, Sonia and Rahul Gandhi know every nook and corner of the country, who is where and who can do what for the party. What has to be done to have unity in the party, I need to learn, and I will do it," Kharge said.

Kharge, who will contest against the MP from Kerala's Thiruvananthapuram, Shashi Tharoor, for the top seat in the party, said that they do not wish to make direct comments against Tharoor or his campaign. He said that everyone has the right to speak about their merit while seeking support, like he has been highlighting his connection with the party's grassroots level.

"I don't want to get into any controversy, he (Mr Tharoor) is saying his thoughts, I don't want to debate on his thoughts. I'm sharing my thoughts. It is our organisation or a family matter. He has the right to say what he wants to, similarly, I, too, have. It is an internal friendly fight," he said.

When it was raised that the election would be a rigged one since top leaders and delegates support him, Kharge said, "I'm contacting election delegates, my campaign managers are organising... I'm a candidate of delegates, senior leaders and delegates have sponsored me."

It was because of his long service to the party that senior leaders, leaders and delegates from various states asked him to contest the poll after the Gandhi family decided that none from it would contest for the Congress President post.

About Congress in poll-bound Karnataka, Kharge said, "leaders in the state are fighting with a cause and working hard...I believe in collective leadership, collective consultancy. The Congress in Karnataka is united and will form a government in the state (after the 2023 Assembly polls)."

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TAGS:Congress presidential election Gandhi family Mallikarjun Kharge Karnataka 
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