Kharge lost Cong prez post due to battle of seniority

Kharge lost Cong prez post due to battle of seniority

Senior Congress leader M Mallikarjun Kharge.

With Sonia Gandhi becoming interim president of the Congress party, senior leader M Mallikarjun Kharge virtually lost the plot in the fight between seniors versus juniors in the grand old party. 

Soon after Rahul Gandhi resigned from the post of AICC president,  Sonia Gandhi, who is the Chairperson of UPA had summoned Kharge and asked whether he will be ready to take the responsibility.

When Kharge gave his consent for the new assignment, Sonia is learnt to have told him to stay on in National capital and work for Maharashtra for which he is incharge General Secretary.

Sonia also asked him to get guest accommodation in Lok Sabha pool accommodation in the national capital since he was in the process of vacating his residence in Delhi as he lost the election from Gulbarga Lok Sabha seat.

Meanwhile, Sonia also tried him to get elected to Rajya Sabha from Tamil Nadu. 

However, that did not fructify as DMK refused to spare the seat to Karnataka leader due to the Cauvery water dispute between two states.

Apart from being a Dalit leader, Sonia was keen on him as he is loyal to the party and impressed with his performance as the party leader in Lok Sabha during the previous NDA regime.

It is reliably learnt that in five groups of leaders that went into discussing names for the next Congress President, though the maximum numbers suggested Rahul Gandhi should continue, the next highest members batted for  Kharge. Only a handful backed AICC General Secretary Mukul Wasnik.

Meanwhile,  the Congress Working  Committee ( CWC) comprising senior leaders met and shortlisted three Dalit leaders names for the post -  Kharge,  Mukul Wasnik and former Maharashtra Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde.

When the party was about to finalise Kharge's name, former Union Minister from Madhya Pradesh Jyotiraditya Scindia raised red flag and convened a meeting of young leaders. In the meeting, the young brigade questioned how can only elders in the CWC shortlist the names and demanded young leaders of the CWC should also be engaged in the consultation.

 Punjab Chief Minister Amrinder Singh also tweeted saying that a young leader should be made as AICC president virtually batting for Scindia or Rajasthan Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot.

As the debate about handing over the baton to a young leader was raging in the Congress,  Sonia assigned the task to Kharge to save H D Kumaraswamy headed JD (S)- Congress coalition government in Karnataka.

Though  Kharge and others failed to save the government despite their efforts, Kharge proved his loyalty to the party by preventing quitting of many senior leaders including Ramalinga Reddy.

Earlier this week, again Sonia summoned Kharge to the national capital and held a detailed discussion on giving him the responsibility. Kharge was learnt to have told Sonia that he is willing to take the responsibility if he was given full freedom and provided all required facilities. 

Meanwhile,  some senior members of the CWC put a spanner saying Kharge is too old and it will be difficult for him to crisscross the country.  The same group of leaders batted for Mukul Wasnik aggressively. However, the Maharashtra leader failed to get support from a large number of leaders in the CWC.

Finally, the battle between seniors and juniors ended up Sonia becoming interim president and Kharg lost out.

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