Notwithstanding claims of the party high command to remain "neutral" in the going elections campaign of the Congress president, the function organized by the Jammu and Kashmir unit of the party for Mallikarjun Kharge is a clear indication that directions have been given to local units to support Kharge.

Instead of remaining neutral, all leaders of the J&K unit of Congress openly campaigned for Kharge and asked all delegates to vote for the "official" candidate Mallikarjun Kharge. Articulated Congress leader and Lok Sabha member from Kerala Shashi Tharoor is fighting against Mallikarun Kharge for the top post of Congress.

Mallikarjun Kharge
Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge addressing party delegates at JammuCongress office

Polling for the Congress president post will take place on October 17, and the result will be announced on October 19. The Congress will see a contest for the party chief post after 22 years. Kharge is likely to become the president of Congress with the backing of interim president Sonia Gandhi and several top leaders of Congress.

It is an internal matter Cong; Kharge on a contest with Tharoor

Mallikarjun Kharge said his contest with Shashi Tharoor for the Congress president was aimed at putting forth their viewpoints for the betterment of the country and the party.

"This is an internal election. It is like two brothers at home, who are not fighting, but placing their points of view and trying to persuade each other," Kharge said.

Shashi Tharoor and Mallikarjun Kharge
Shashi Tharoor and Mallikarjun KhargeIANS

"The Congress is the largest democratic party in the country where elections are held right from booth level upwards to the AICC president, if there is a contest, like the present one but said nobody knows how the elections are held in BJP", he asked.

He said that elections are held with complete transparency and freedom in the Congress party as per the constitution of the party and every eligible delegate is free to contest for any post including the Congress president.

"I have never heard of any such election in the BJP for the post of president of the party but BJP continues to raise questions about Congress", he said.

Kharge was accompanied by Rajya Sabha MP Nasir Hussain and AICC leader and former AICC Spokesperson Prof Gourav Vallabh.

Appealing to the delegates to support his candidature, the veteran Congress leader said there was no pressure on anyone and whoever was supporting him, was doing so happily, adding Rahul Gandhi was the only option if the grand-old party has to become stronger. Kharge, 80, said he would implement the Udaipur declaration of the party if he gets elected.