“Sonia Gandhi has the final say in Cong’s politics, likely to remain so”

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Former Congress leader Ashwani Kumar said Mallikarjun Kharge’s election as party president by a huge margin shows Sonia Gandhi has the final say in the organization’s internal politics.

She is likely to command such respect as long as she is active in the party in any capacity, Kumar said Wednesday while claiming it is because party members retain a sense of personal loyalty to her, which extends to the family.

“That Kharge was her undeclared choice is incontrovertible despite strident establishment denials to the contrary. Sonia Gandhi has once again demonstrated her shrewd political judgment by using elections to demonstrate the pre-eminence of family in the party established over long years of exercising patronage politics,” Kumar said in a statement.

The former Union Minister also praised Shashi Tharoor for rising to the challenge of contesting the top job in Congress and said he was not a loser.

“The electoral process is a victory for him. He has invested his energy in making a political statement by giving voice. He has clearly surpassed most of his former colleagues in the G-23 group and positioned himself as a challenger”, Kumar said.

The former justice minister also said Tharoor has saved his presence on the national stage for the long term, noting that it will all depend on how he performs here and how the party treats him.

Kumar said that Tharoor had no complaints about the lack of a level playing field, which is never the case in a ‘David vs. Goliath’ fight, noting that his tally of over 1,000 votes is a meaningful indicator.

Stating that the definition of ideological battles cannot be captive to personal vanities and animosities, Kumar said, “Congress needs conscientious dissidents willing and able to hold on to their views. Mallikarjuna Kharge will have to be a consensus builder within the party and eliminate the causes of alienation of revelers over the years. In this necessary task, he will need the support of the family.

(Only the title and image of this report may have been edited by Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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