Congress President Polls: Tharoor, Kharge arrive in UP as race for top post heats up

In the INC Electoral College, UP has a maximum of over 1200 votes, against the over 9000 across the country, thus making it the single most crucial state in the leadership contest

Rashmi SharmaUpdated: Sunday, October 09, 2022, 04:05 PM IST
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Congress leaders Shashi Tharoor, left, and Mallikarjun Kharge | FPJ

Lucknow: In the electoral college of Indian National Congress (INC), the maximum number of votes are from Uttar Pradesh, and the battle for its president has reached here now.

On Monday, the INC presidential candidate, Shashi Tharoor, will be visiting Lucknow to meet members of the Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) and seek votes in his favour. However, the visit of another candidate for the coveted post, Mallikarjun Kharge, will arrive in UP a day later, on Tuesday.

In the INC Electoral College, UP has a maximum of over 1200 votes, against the over 9000 across the country. Most of the PCC members in UP have been handpicked by the team of Priyanka Gandhi, who is the General Secretary in charge of UP. Kharge, seemingly the candidate backed by the Gandhi family, is all set to get the maximum votes from UP. However, few of the voters in UP might also go for Shashi Tharoor.

According to a senior Congress leader in UP, Tharoor is the chairman of the All India Professional Congress (AIPC), which has a strong unit here. The AIPC office-bearers in UP have been campaigning for Tharoor for the last two weeks, approaching PCC members. While the numbers favour Kharge in UP, many of the young faces in the congress here have been showing inclination for Tharoor also, he said.

Another Congress leader, on the condition of anonymity, said that there is disappointment among the party men in UP over the election of PCC members also. While a large number of senior leaders and party loyalists have bene left out, majority of new comers have been accommodated in the list.

Citing the example of newly appointed state president and the six zonal presidents, he said that lot many people who have joined congress from Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) have been given plum posts. The state president of UP Congress too had been Member of Parliament from BSP and a senior leader there. He joined Congress only before 2014 Lok Sabha polls and now rose to the position of state president. Among the newly appointed six zonal presidents, one Nakul Dube had left BSP to join Congress only three months back.

Another zonal president Naseemuddin Siddiqui was long associated with BSP and so was Ajay Rai who was a BJP legislator earlier and had been in Samajwadi Party also. Of the two congress legislators in the UP assembly one, Virendra Choudhury has also been appointed as zonal president, but he too had been in other political parties earlier before joining congress.

Senior congress leaders of UP Congress claimed that under the present circumstances, nearly 1000 of PCC members or even more than this might vote for Kharge.

"Since everyone knows about the inclination of Priyanka Gandhi, there is no question of Tharoor getting much votes in UP," said a congress leader. He said that in the PCC list, even the recommendations of city and district unit chiefs were overruled by those running the organization.

Irked over it the Lucknow city unit president of Congress, Dilpreet Singh had even submitted resignation accusing party of ignoring his advice in electing PCC members.

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