Will have no shame in taking advice of Gandhi family: Mallikarjun Kharge

'Sonia and Rahul Gandhi know every nook and corner of the country, who is where and who can do what for the party', said Congress presidential candidate Mallikarjun Kharge.
Congress presidential candidate Mallikarjun Kharge. (Photo | PTI)
Congress presidential candidate Mallikarjun Kharge. (Photo | PTI)

BENGALURU: Senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge on Sunday said he would have no shame in taking the advice and support of the Gandhi family in running the party affairs, in case he becomes its President, as they have struggled and put their strength for its growth.

The veteran leader said that he is the "delegates' candidate" in this polls to the party's highest post, scheduled for October 17.

"They say such things as there is nothing else to tell. BJP indulges in such a campaign and others follow it. Sonia Gandhi has worked for 20 years in the organisation. Rahul Gandhi was also president. They have struggled for the party and put their strength for its growth," Kharge said responding to a question about talk that he would be the remote control of the Gandhi family on becoming the AICC President.

Speaking to reporters here, he highlighted that the Nehru-Gandhi family has contributed immensely and sacrificed for this country from Jawaharlal Nehru to Indira Gandhi to Rajiv Gandhi to Sonia Gandhi.

"Just because we (Congress) lost a few elections, saying such a thing (against Gandhis) is not right. They have done good for this country, their advice will benefit the party, so I will definitely seek their advice and support. There is no shame in it. If something benefits from your (media) advice, I will take it as well. They have worked for this party and taking their advice is my duty," Kharge said.

"Further Sonia and Rahul Gandhi know every nook and corner of the country, who is where and who can do what for the party. What has to be done to have unity in the party, I need to learn and I will do it," he added.

The Member of Rajya Sabha from Karnataka today met some state Congress leaders and addressed the media, as part of his campaign trail here.

He is pitted against Thiruvananthapuram MP Shashi Tharoor in the grand old party's presidential polls for which results will be declared on October 19.

Khage however, did not want to make any direct comments on his opponent in the poll - Tharoor - or his campaign, and merely said that, everyone has the right to speak about their merit, while seeking support, like he has been highlighting about his connection with the party's grassroots level.

"I don't want to get into any controversy, he (Tharoor) is saying his thoughts, I don't want to debate on his thoughts. I'm sharing my thoughts. It is our organisation or a family matter. He has the right to say what he wants to, similarly I too have. It is an internal friendly fight," he said, to a question about his message for Tharoor.

Rebutting talk that it will be a rigged election, with senior leaders and delegates who will vote, openly supporting him, Kharge said, "I'm contacting election delegates, my campaign managers are organising. I'm a candidate of delegates, senior leaders and delegates have sponsored me."

He said after the Gandhi family took a stand that none of them would contest for the Congress President post, senior leaders, leaders and delegates from various states, asked him to contest, considering his long service to the party organisation.

Asked about the Congress in election-bound Karnataka and about the impact of his election as party president, Kharge said, "leaders in the state are fighting with a cause and working hard. I believe in collective leadership, collective consultancy. The Congress in Karnataka is united and will form a government in the state (after the 2023 Assembly polls)."

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