Rahul Gandh & Mallikarjun Kharge

NEW DELHI: Congress Rajya Sabha MP Mallikarjun Kharge on Sunday said that Rahul Gandhi should take the lead of the Congress party since he has the ability to lift the party from the crisis.

Speaking to ANI, Kharge said, “Today the whole situation has become clear regarding the election of Congress Party President. I have my personal opinion and it is the feeling of all the workers that Rahul Gandhi should take the lead of the Congress party at this time. He should become the president of the Congress party.”

“Rahul Gandhi is the only one who can lift the Congress. He can unify and strengthen the party. Only he has the ability to assemble people even in the Bharat Jodo programme,” added the veteran leader.

Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting was held on Sunday to decide the election schedule for the party president post. The meeting was chaired by party interim president Sonia Gandhi. The meeting was also attended by Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. Former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh also attended the meeting via virtual mode.

In the meeting, it was decided that the election for the Congress president will be held on October 17 and the counting of votes will be done on October 19.

According to the party statement, the election notification will be released on September 22. The nomination can be filed between September 24 and September 30. The scrutiny will be on October Further, the last date of withdrawal of nomination is October 8. Finally, the results will be declared on October 19.

The CWC reiterated its resolve to make the Mehangai Par Halla Bol rally in New Delhi on September 4 and the launch of the Bharat Jodo Yatra from Kanyakumari on September 7 and its continuation thereafter a resounding success.

Asked whether there was any discussion on who should be president and if there was discussion on whether Rahul Gandhi should become president, Congress general secretary KC Venugopal said, It is an open and fair election. Whosoever wants to be president, should file a nomination.”

The CWC meeting came against the backdrop of the party’s senior leader Gulam Nabi Azad’s resignation on Friday. The sources had said that the election for the post of president has now become a challenge for Congress with the reluctance of Rahul Gandhi to contest the polls.

According to sources, the Central Election Authority has already made preparations to complete the election process on time. Sources said the process was stuck since Rahul Gandhi is not willing to contest the election for the post of Congress president, although all the efforts to convince him are still going on.

Meanwhile, Congress plans to embark on ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ from Kanyakumari on September 7 under the leadership of party leader Rahul Gandhi and the 148-day march will culminate in Kashmir.

The five-month yatra is scheduled to cover a distance of 3,500 kilometres and more than 12 states. The padayatra (march) will cover a distance of 25 km every day.

The Yatra will include padayatras, rallies, and public meetings which will be attended by the senior Congress leaders including Sonia Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. (ANI)