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Congress president polls: Mallikarjun Kharge files nomination, says hopeful of win

New Delhi: Senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge on Friday said that he has filed his nomination for the president of Congress and said he was fighting for a big change in the party.
The Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha has been backed by leaders like Manish Tewari, Anand Sharma and others of the Group of 23 (those who are fighting for reforms in the party) and his candidature was proposed by senior leaders including A K Antony, Ashok Gehlot, Digvijaya singh, Mukul Wasnik, Pramod Tiwari among others. "I thank all the leaders, workers, delegates and ministers who came in support of me today and encouraged me. We will see the results on October 17. I am hopeful that I will win," Kharge said addressing a press conference after filing nominations at All India Congress Committee office in Delhi today.
"I have been connected to the ideology of Congress since my childhood, I used to campaign for the same Gandhi - Nehru ideology when I was in class 8 and 9," the 80-year-leader said adding that the efforts to revive the party shall continue.
Soon after Kharge's nomination - filing, Congress leader Manish Tewari extended support to him and said, "Mallikarjun Kharge is a senior leader of the Congress party. I and Anand Sharma have come to support his nomination here."
Notably, Congress MP and G-23 member Shashi Tharoor and Jharkhand leader KN Tripathi have also filed their nomination for the party president post today.
Terming Kharge as the Bhishma Pita' of the Congress, Tharoor said that he will not withdraw his nomination and that the contest will be a friendly and there is no rivalry between the candidates.
Both Tewari and Tharoor belong to the G-23 grouping of senior leaders within the party. Reports had suggested Tewari was himself thinking of contesting.
"We have come in support of his (Kharge's) nomination. Shashi Tharoor was, is and will be our friend. Those who have spent their entire lives in Congress are here. Digvijaya Singh has shown grace and withdrawn his candidature. It would be good if there is a consensus," Tewari added.
Congress leader Salman Khurshid said, "Shashi Tharoor has tried to strengthen a tradition. Both of them have said that Congress will be strengthened with this (contest)."
Earlier today, former Madhya Pradesh CM Digvijaya Singh dropped out of the Congress presidential race. He too extended his support to Kharge, saying he "cannot think of contesting an election" against a senior leader like Kharge.
Singh was the second Congress leader to pull out of the race after Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot amid political turmoil in his state. Gehlot said he would be the proposer for Kharge.
"Our senior leaders have decided on Kharge ji's nomination. I will be a proposer for him," said Gehlot.
Congress MP Deepender S Hooda also welcomed Kharge's nomination.
"I welcome Mallikarjun Kharge's nomination for the Congress president post. (I am) confident he will be elected. Over the years, he has raised the voice of the people in Parliament. I've signed his nomination papers as a proposer," he said. (ANI)

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