Mallikarjun Kharge was elected Congress president on Wednesday, defeating the party's Thiruvananthapuram MP Shashi Tharoor in a hard-fought contest for leadership but the euphoria in the party — its proclamations of inner-party democracy and digs at the opponents — will soon give way to the reality of the challenges that lie ahead for the 80-year-old veteran leader. Barring once in 2019, Kharge has not lost any election, earning him the Kannada sobriquet "solillada sardara (a leader without defeat)". His victory was expected, given the support he had from the All India Congress Committee (AICC) establishment. The leadership sinking their differences had joined forces to ensure continuity. Disruption, they felt, would be disastrous. In Premium Now | Mallikarjun Kharge interview: 'That issue (of G-23) is over… They are all supporting me' While maintaining the status quo is easy, the biggest challenge before Kharge is to transform the party to reconnect with the people and start winning elections again. The first non-Gandhi to occupy Congress presidency in two-and-a-half decades, he cannot afford to let his momentous election be a sideshow. Although in the context of the Labour Party, what former British Prime Minister Tony Blair said last year perhaps rings true for… Read full this story
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