Congress leader Ashok Gehlot on Wednesday said that efforts were on “till the last minute” to make Rahul Gandhi the president of the grand old party as he is the “only one who could challenge Prime Minister Narendra Modi.”
Speaking to journalists in Delhi, on the day newly-elected Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge formally takes charge, Mr Gehlot said, “It was Rahul Gandhi’s desire that a non-Gandhi become the president of the party. However, till the last minute, efforts were made to make him the party president as only he can challenge Prime Minister Modi and his government,” he said.
The Rajasthan chief minister then congratulated Mr Kharge on his win. “Today is a new beginning. We congratulate Mallikarjun Kharge Ji and will work to strengthen the party,” Mr Gehlot said.
The veteran leader will take charge as the All India Congress Committee (AICC) President at an event at the Congress headquarters later in the day. At the ceremony, Mr Kharge will be handed over a certificate of election by Sonia Gandhi.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi is also likely to be present at the ceremony after taking a break from his ongoing Bharat Jodo Yatra.
Mr Kharge will be the first Congress President in 24 years who does not belong to the Nehru-Gandhi family. He trumped his opponent Shashi Tharoor by a huge margin in the race to the party’s top post.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)