Kochi: The Congress leader and Kerala Leader of Opposition VD Satheesan on Saturday, extended support to Mallikarjun Kharge for party's presidential poll instead of Shashi Tharoor, an MP from Thiruvananthapuram.
The Kerala LoP argued that Kharge has a lot of experience and is very happy that a Dalit leader is going to become the AICC President.
"I have decided to support Mallikarjun Kharge Ji. He is a very senior politician and senior Congressman with huge experience as a minister in the Centre and in the state. He was the leader of the Opposition. He belongs to a Dalit community. I am very happy that a Dalit leader is going to become the President of AICC. Not only supporting him, but I am also going to campaign for him," he said.
On being asked about Shashi Tharoor who is a leader from Kerala and is in a direct fight with Kharge for party's president post.
"I am not ready to bring on any regional matter or any narrow-minded issue. It is a national election. This is the Congress party and it is a democratic party. Anybody can contest. That itself is very beautiful. We are all going to campaign for Kharge Ji. We hope that we can collect maximum votes from Kerala," he added.
The polling will take place on October 17 and votes will be counted two days later.
Friday was the last day for filing nominations for the election of the Congress president, where a total of three leaders have staked their claim for the post.
According to Congress Central Election Authority chairman Madhusudan Mistry, 14 forms have been submitted by Mallikarjun Kharge, five by Shashi Tharoor and one by Jharkhand leader KN Tripathi.
Congress Central Election Authority chairman Madhusudan Mistry on Friday said that a total of 20 nomination forms have been received, adding that the Gandhi family is not supporting any candidate for the party's president post.
This comes after Mallikarjun Kharge, who is a known Gandhi family loyalist, entered into the fray at the eleventh hour. While several top leaders including from the G-23 faction flanked Kharge when he filed the nomination papers today.
Mistry added that 14 nominations were received by Mallikarjun Kharge, five by Shashi Tharoor and one by Jharkhand Congress leader KN Tripathi.
"14 forms submitted by (Mallikarjun) Kharge, 5 by Shashi Tharoor and one by KN Tripathi. Tomorrow, we will scrutinise forms and tomorrow evening we will announce forms that are valid and the names of candidates," said Mistry at the press briefing.
He further said that the Gandhi family has not endorsed any candidate for the presidential polls.
"None of these three is an official candidate of the party. They are contesting on their own. The Gandhi family has not endorsed anyone's nomination. Congress president has made it very clear that she will stay neutral throughout the process and if someone claims he has her blessings and it is incorrect," Madhusudan Mistry said
So far, Kharge is believed as a strong candidate and if he becomes the party president, Congress will get a Dalit chief after 51 years.