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Cong Chief’s surprise move as Kharge files nomination
New Delhi: As Mallikarjun Kharge formally joined the Congress president election by filing his nomination papers on Friday, he was flanked by 30 leaders, including Raj CM Ashok Gehlot, previously the front-runner. Kharge’s entry was a last-minute twist after Ashok Gehlot dropped out. The message was delivered to him by KC Venugopal, a trusted leader of the Gandhis. Though the Gandhis said they would be neutral, Mallikarjun Kharge’s nomination at the Congress office made it clear that he has the blessings of the leadership. His papers were signed by a galaxy of leaders. Digvijaya Singh, who was all set to file his nomination until Mr Kharge came into the picture, was also one of his proposers. The others include AK Antony, Ambika Soni, Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Deepender S Hooda, Salman Khurshid, V Narayanasamy, Tariq Anwar and Rajiv Shukla. Kharge also received support from leaders of the “G-23” or group of 23 dissenters who wrote to Sonia Gandhi in 2020 calling for big reforms in the party, including elections for top posts. Mukul Wasnik, Anand Sharma, Bhupinder Hooda and Manish Tewari, the most prominent of dissenters, who were discussing putting up a candidate, have all come out in support of the Gandhis-backed candidate.