Kharge best suited to lead Congress in battle for India’s soul, says Sonia

Opposition leaders urge Congress chief to give a fresh impetus to INDIA bloc

November 29, 2023 10:42 pm | Updated 10:42 pm IST - New Delhi

Congress Parliamentary Party (CPP) Chairperson Sonia Gandhi with Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge, Communist Party of India (Marxist) General Secretary Sitaram Yechuri, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) leader T.R. Baalu, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) MP Manoj Kumar Jha and others during the book launch on ‘Mallikarjun Kharge-Political Engagement with Compassion, Justice and Inclusive Development’, in New Delhi on November 29, 2023.

Congress Parliamentary Party (CPP) Chairperson Sonia Gandhi with Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge, Communist Party of India (Marxist) General Secretary Sitaram Yechuri, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) leader T.R. Baalu, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) MP Manoj Kumar Jha and others during the book launch on ‘Mallikarjun Kharge-Political Engagement with Compassion, Justice and Inclusive Development’, in New Delhi on November 29, 2023. | Photo Credit: ANI

At the launch of a book to commemorate Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge’s 50 years in electoral politics, Congress Parliamentary Party (CPP) Chairperson Sonia Gandhi on November 29 declared him “best suited to lead the Congress in this historic battle for India’s soul”. At the event, several Opposition leaders also urged the Congress chief to adopt a proactive approach to give renewed momentum to the Indian National Developmental, Inclusive Alliance (INDIA).

At the formal launch of Mallikarjun Kharge: Political Engagement with Compassion, Justice and Inclusive Development, Ms. Gandhi lauded the Congress chief’s political journey and said that he embodied the indomitable Indian spirit while overcoming multiple adversities in his political journey.

CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury and Rajya Sabha member and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Manoj Jha recounted how Mr. Kharge did not choose “the politics of hate” despite losing his mother and other members of his family at a very young age to communal riots in Hyderabad.

“Faced with communalism and discrimination at a tender age, he consciously chose to be secular and liberal,” Ms. Gandhi said.

Accusing the BJP-led government of “demolishing or subverting” constitutional institutions, systems and principles that thrived in post-independent India, Ms. Gandhi said, “As a strong organisational leader who enjoys our confidence, Shri Mallikarjun Kharge is best suited to lead the Congress party in this historic battle for India’s soul.”

The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) Leader of the Lok Sabha, T.R. Baalu, said Mr. Kharge should lead the Opposition bloc to success in the 2024 Lok Sabha poll.

“Forget all the differences. If differences crop up, then we will collapse. The most important thing is that as the senior-most leader of the INDIA alliance, Khargeji should lead without any problem so that we can win 2024,” Mr. Baalu said.

Stressing that the Congress chief had a huge responsibility to carry everyone along into the next general election, Mr. Yechury said, “This is not just the expectation of my party but the entire country. After all, for many months, we have trying for Judega Bharat Jeetega India [Bharat will united, India will will]”.

In his speech, Mr. Kharge said too stressed on unity and said that the country would be able to overcome new challenges “only when we are able to sort out our differences and come together”.

Top Congress leaders, including Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, his Chhattisgarh counterpart Bhupesh Baghel, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu, and party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, were present at the event.

About 75 colleagues, friends and admirers – from Ms. Gandhi to former President Ram Nath Kovind, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, former Vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and NCP leader Sharad Pawar – have all sent in their messages and written chapters. The other leaders who contributed to the book include former Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, former Union Minister P. Chidambaram, and Rajya Sabha member Abhishek Singhvi.

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