Digvijaya Singh out of Cong prez poll race, says can't contest against Kharge
Digvijaya Singh said Mallikarjun Kharge is his senior and he can't think of contesting against his senior.
In a major twist to the last-minute race for the Congress presidential poll, Congress leader and former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijaya Singh opted out of the race and said he will back Mallikarjun Kharge in the election. Friday is the last day for filing the nomination paper for the much-awaited election. With Digvijaya Singh opting out, Shashi Tharoor and Mallikarjun Kharge are the two major contestants for the election. Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot withdrew from the race on Thursday in the aftermath of the Rajasthan rebellion that his loyalist MLAs stirred in a bid to retain him as the chief minister even if he goes to contest the party election.
"I told Kharge I will opt out if Mallikarjun Kharge contests. He is my senior," Digvijaya Singh said. "I have worked for the Congress whole my life. I will continue to do so. I can't compromise on three things -- Dalit rights, fight against communalism and my faith in the party leadership," the Congress leader said adding that had he known that Mallikarjun Kharge will be contesting in the election, he would not have collected the nomination form in the first place. Also Read: Manish Tewari pitches for 'consensus' amid poll drama, recalls Pranab Mukherjee
“I visited Kharge's residence yesterday and told him that if he contests, I will not. But at that time, he said he had not taken any decision. Today, I came to know from media that he will be filing his nomination. So I am opting out as I can't even think of contesting against my senior,” Digvijaya Singh said.
Congress leader Pramod Tiwari on Friday said he will be a proposer for Mallikarjun Kharge.
On the other hand, Jharkhand Congress leader KN Tripathi said he will be filing his nomination for the election today. "Rahul Gandhi and party chief Sonia Gandhi have said that they are neither requesting anyone to contest nor declining anyone...we want to see what the rank and file of the party want," he said.
Amid the election drama, Manish Tewari who was also speculated to be a contestant in the election batted for a consensus candidate making it clear that he won't be contesting. He recalled late Pranab Mukherjee's words that certain offices should not be sought but offered and Congress president is one such office.