New Delhi: The Congress party has finally got its first non-Gandhi chief in over two decades as Mallikarjun Kharge—a staunch Gandhi family loyalist has registered a thumping victory in the party presidential elections with 7897 votes. Shashi Tharoor, on the other hand, got about 1000 votes, while 416 votes were rejected. A vocal critic of the Narendra Modi-led government, Kharge’s elevation to head the Congress is expected to give a boost to the cadre amid hopes that it would unify the party leadership in the state that goes to Assembly polls by April next year.
For the unversed, Sitaram Kesri was the last non-Gandhi president. He had won the Congress president’s election in 1997 defeating rivals Sharad Pawar and Rajesh Pilot. However, he was removed from the post on March 5, 1998.  Sonia Gandhi, on the other hand, was the longest-serving party president and had been at the helm since 1998 barring a two-year period between 2017-19 when Rahul Gandhi took over.
Wishing Kharge on being elected party president, Shashi Tharoor said, “I believe the revival of our party has truly begun today.”
Read Tharoor’s full statement here 

Shashi Tharoor’s statement on Kharge’s victory

Shashi Tharoor’s statement on Kharge’s victory

Tharoor who is not known to be a Nehru-Gandhi family loyalist was also considered to be a frontrunner for the top post. However, Tharoor was one of the 23 Congress leaders – popularly known as G-23 – who wrote a letter to Sonia demanding an overhaul in decision-making at the top level.
Congress President Polls: 5-Point Cheatsheet

Kharge defeats Shashi Tharoor in Congress’ Presidential polls.
Kharge got 7897 votes, while Tharoor received 1000 votes.
416 votes were rejected.
The octogenarian leader succeeds Sonia Gandhi at the grand old party’s highest office.
Congress’ Presidential polls saw over 9,500 delegates across the country voting.

All You Need to Know About Mallikarjun Kharge

Kharge, a leader with more than 50 years of experience in politics, is the second AICC President from Karnataka after S Nijalingappa and also the second Dalit leader after Jagjivan Ram to hold the post.
Kharge was elected MLA for nine times in a row, seeing a steady rise in his career graph from humble beginnings as a union leader in his home district of Gulbarga (renamed as Kalaburagi).
He joined the party in 1969 and went on to become President of the Gulbarga City Congress Committee.
Kharge has played multiple roles in different ministries that has enriched his experience as an administrator.
He has also served as the leader of the opposition in Karnataka.
Kharge is a follower of Buddhism and is the founder-chairman of Siddharth Vihar Trust that has built the Buddha Vihar complex in Kalaburagi.
Married to Radhabai on May 13, 1968, they have two daughters and three sons. One son, Priyank Kharge is a MLA and a former Minister in Karnataka.