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Published On: Wed, Jul 3rd, 2019

Shinde, Mukul Wasnik & Kharge: Who Will Take the Baton from Rahul?

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5cbd417d240000ab000683d4NEW DELHI :If the president of the Congress party resigns, the party constitution stipulates that the senior-most general secretary of the party takes over in the interim and remains in office until the Congress Working Committee (CWC) appoints a new chief.

With Rahul Gandhi handing in his official resignation on Wednesday, former treasurer and family loyalist Motilal Vora will remain in office and discharge the duties of the party president till an alternative arrangement is made. The question remains — who will the CWC choose to replace Gandhi?
Former Maharashtra chief minister Sushil Kumar Shinde is one of the names doing the rounds in the party circles. The septuagenarian leader contested the Lok Sabha elections from Sholapur in Maharashtra and lost to BJP’s Jai Siddheshwar Shivacharya Swami. Shinde is considered a prominent Dalit face in the party and, above all, he is said to enjoy the complete and total trust of the Gandhi family.th06Mukul-WasnGH02PU85P3jpg
Earlier this year, Shinde found himself in controversy in Maharashtra politics when the BJP claimed it had attempted to poach him and his daughter, Praniti Shinde, who is a member of the state legislative assembly. Shinde, 77, a former Maharashtra Chief Minister and former union minister, is seen to be the most likely candidate to head the Congress. He was the party’s nominee for vice president in 2002.
Besides being a senior leader in Maharashtra, a state where polls are due later this year, Mr Shinde is also a respected Dalit face in the party. He also enjoys the full confidence of the Gandhis.

So does Mallikarjun Kharge, who led the Congress in the previous Lok Sabha and was seen to be effective in leading the opposition charge against the government. Mr Kharge, 76, suffered his first election defeat in a decades-old political career in the recent Lok Sabha polls. images (4)
Mr Kharge has also been a union minister in more than one Congress government.The name of former minister and leader of Congress in the last Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge, is also in contention. While the Gulbarga MP had lost the Lok Sabha elections, he remains a tall Dalit leader in Karnataka politics.
The search for a new Congress president follows Rahul Gandhi’s resignation owning the 2019 poll defeat. A new chief will be chosen “within a week”, party sources have told
The second name doing rounds is that of Mukul Wasnik, another Dalit leader from Maharashtra. With elections to the state assembly slated to be held later this year, there is a view in the party that nominating the next president from the state would be politically beneficial to the Congress, especially when Prakash Ambedkar’s Republican Party of India (RPI) and Asaduddin Owaisi’s All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) have made serious inroads in the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) vote base.

It will be the third time that someone outside the Nehru-Gandhi family will lead the Congress after PV Narasimha Rao and Sitaram Kesri. Sources say a final decision will involve all three Gandhis – Rahul Gandhi, his mother and former party chief Sonia Gandhi, and his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who joined politics in January.





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