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"Want Rahul Gandhi to stop Bharat Jodo Yatra...": Congress MP Francisco Sardinha

Panaji: Congress MP Francisco Sardinha on Monday claimed that the Congress is the "only party" which can defeat the BJP and hence Rahul Gandhi should now stop the Bharat Jodo Yatra and go to Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat to campaign for the Assembly polls.
"I want Rahul Gandhi to stop the Bharat Jodo Yatra and go to Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat to awaken the public so that they vote for the only party that can defeat BJP. The only party that can be an opposition to BJP is Congress," said Congress MP Francisco Sardinha after casting his vote for the next president of Congress. The Election Commission on Friday declared that Assembly polls will be held in Himachal Pradesh on November 12 and the counting of votes will take place on December 8.
The 182-seat Gujarat Assembly will go to polls later this year.
Sardinha, who is also a former Chief Minister of Goa, made this claim after casting his vote and also alleged that there is no point in contesting when one knows that their defeat is confirmed.
"Shashi Tharoor is my colleague. If I had to meet I would have requested him for it because I knew everybody would be for Mallikarjun, so what is the point when you know that you are 100 per cent going to lose, you just want to show that you contested," Sardinha said adding that he was sure of veteran leader Mallikarjun Kharge's victory for the party's president post.
"Nothing new, there have been elections earlier, unopposed, Madam Sonia ji was the president, Rahul ji was the president and now there are elections and I am sure Mallikarjjun ji will be the new president of the Congress," he said further.
The 3,500-km yatra from Kanniyakumari to Kashmir is observing a "rest day" on the day of voting for the next president.
In the race for the next president of Congress, party leaders Shashi Tharoor and Mallikarjun Kharge are in direct contest with each other.
Thiruvananthapuram MP Shashi Tharoor, who is pitted against party veteran Mallikarjun Kharge for the post of the Congress president on Monday, said the revival of the party has begun whatever the outcome and that the fate of the Congress lies in the hands of the party workers.
Tharoor said he was confident of winning the election but acknowledged the odds against him.
Meanwhile, Kharge also told ANI: "It is part of our internal election. Whatever we said to each other is on a friendly note. Together we have to build the party. (Shashi) Tharoor telephoned me and wished me luck and I also said the same."
It is not the first time that a non-Gandhi leader is contesting for the party presidency post-Independence, as Jitendra Prasad contested for the post of the president about 22 years ago against Sonia Gandhi in which she emerged as a winner holding the mantle of the party for 20 years.
Sonia Gandhi is the party's longest-serving president, having held the office for over 20 years from 1998 to 2017 and since 2019.
This time no member of the Gandhi family is contesting for the post of President.
This is the sixth time in its nearly 137-year history that polls are being conducted to elect the national president of the party. In the 2017 elections, Rahul Gandhi became the party president unopposed. (ANI)

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