The Congress will get a new president, who will also be its first non-Gandhi chief in 24 years, as the counting of votes for the electoral contest held between veteran Mallikarjun Kharge and Thiruvananthapuram MP Shashi Tharoor will begin at 10am on Wednesday.

The counting of votes will be held at the party’s headquarters in New Delhi, with the results expected to be announced at around 3pm or 4pm. Elections to the post of Congress president were held on Monday, and 68 polling booths were set up across the country; of the total 9,915 Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) delegates who formed the electoral college to vote for a new chief in a secret ballot, more than 9,500 voted, and at respective state unit offices or the All India Congress Committee (AICC) headquarters in the national capital.

The counting will take place in the presence of five agents from each side, while two agents from each side will be kept in reserve. Barring an upset, Kharge is the firm favourite to succeed Sonia Gandhi as the grand old party’s supremo.

This was only for the sixth time in Congress’ 137-year-old history that elections were held for the party chief’s post. On the previous occasion, in 1998, Sonia Gandhi defeated Jitendra Prasada, and held the post till December 2017, when she passed the baton to her son, Rahul Gandhi. However, in 2019, Rahul Gandhi resigned after the party lost against arch-rival Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in that year’s Lok Sabha polls, its second successive defeat to the BJP in general elections.

Rahul Gandhi’s move led to Sonia Gandhi’s return as the Congress president.

(With inputs from ANI, PTI)

By Shadab

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