Former Congress leader Ashwani Kumar has said the election of Mallikarjun Kharge as party president by a huge margin shows Sonia Gandhi has the last word in the organisation's internal politics.
She is likely to command such respect as long as she is active in the party in whatever capacity, Mr. Kumar said on October 19, 2022 while asserting that it is because party persons retain a sense of personal loyalty to her, which extends to the family.
"That Kharge was her undeclared choice is indisputable notwithstanding vehement denials by the establishment to the contrary. Sonia Gandhi has once again demonstrated her astute political judgment in using elections to demonstrate the family's pre-eminence in the party established over long years of exercise of political patronage," Mr. Kumar said in a statement.
‘Poll process a victory for Tharoor’
The former union minister also lauded Shashi Tharoor for taking on the challenge to contest the top Congress post and said he is no loser.
"The election process is a victory for him. He invested his energy in making a political statement by walking the talk. He has clearly outshone most of his once-upon-a-time colleagues in the G-23 grouping and has positioned himself as a challenger," Mr. Kumar said.
Profile | Shashi Tharoor | The diplomat-politician
The former law minister also said Mr. Tharoor has registered his presence on the national scene for the long run, noting that much will depend on how he conducts himself hereon and how the party treats him.
Mr. Kumar said Mr. Tharoor need not complain about the absence of a level-playing field, which is never the case in a 'David versus Goliath' fight, noting that his tally of over 1,000 votes is a significant pointer.
Asserting that defining ideological battles cannot be captive to personal vanities and animosities, Mr. Kumar said, "The Congress needs conscientious dissenters willing and able to hold on to their views. Mallikarjuna Kharge will need to be a consensus builder within the party and remove causes for the alienation of party persons over the years. In this necessary task, he will need the family's support."