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Kharge’s presidential campaign gains momentum with more State leaders backing the veteran

October 03, 2022 09:20 pm | Updated 09:44 pm IST - Thiruvananthapuram

Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge’s election campaign for party presidentship gained considerable political heft in Kerala with more Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) heavyweights backing the 80-year-old veteran Dalit leader’s candidature.

KPCC president K. Sudhakaran was is the latest in the row of party leaders lining up in quick succession behind Mr. Kharge.

Mr. Sudhakaran, who had called for a conscience vote in the event of a presidential contest, a line in congruence with the AICC’s stated position, has staunchly aligned himself with Mr. Kharge’s camp.

Earlier, Mr. Sudhakaran’s critics in the KPCC had interpreted the statement as indicative of his support for Shashi Tharoor’s candidature. On Monday, the KPCC president put the record straight.

Mr. Sudhakaran pointedly said Mr. Kharge would never compromise with the Sangh Parivar. His secular credentials were unimpeachable.

Mr. Sudhakaran’s stress on Mr. Kharge’s steadfast anti-RSS track record assumed organisational importance in the run-up to the AICC presidential election against the backdrop of defections from the Congress to the BJP.

Some construed Mr. Sudhakaran’s statement as a comment on the alleged political ambiguity of disgruntled elements in the Congress.

Mr. Sudhakaran said 60 years as an active Congress worker would stand Mr. Kharge in good stead as AICC chief. Mr. Kharge could quickly remedy the party’s organisational weaknesses and capitalise on its strengths, he said.

Congress veteran A.K. Antony has seconded Mr. Kharge’s nomination, signalling that the veteran Dalit has the imprimatur of the Gandhi family.

Many believe the residual affinity among Congress workers for the Gandhi family could sway KPCC votes in Mr. Kharge's favour. KPCC will hold the secret ballot at its headquarters at Indira Bhavan, here.

KPCC organisational secretary T. U. Radhakrishnan has urged members of the 281-strong electoral college to collect their voter identity cards at the earliest.

Former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, KPCC working president Kodikunnil Suresh, Leader of Opposition V. D. Satheesan, Ramesh Chennithala, and former Minister V.S. Sivakumar has pitched for Mr. Kharge.

The Tharoor camp promises change, not continuity, as purportedly embodied by Mr. Kharge. It aspires for an upset win for Mr. Tharoor in Kerala, despite the apparent support for Mr. Kharge. It counts the backing of Hibi Eden, M.K. Raghavan, both MPs, and K.S. Sabarinathan in the KPCC general body.

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