Mallikarjun Kharge, Shashi Tharoor are the two men in the Congress presidential race for which nominations end on Friday.
The 80-year-old Kharge, flanked by top Congress leaders, filed several sets of nomination papers with the proposers also including members from the G-23 group comprising Anand Sharma, Prithviraj Chavan, Manish Tewari and Bhupinder Hooda.
Tharoor, who was also part of the G-23 group, filed five sets of nomination papers, while former Jharkhand minister Tripathi filed a single set of poll papers with Madhusudan Mistry, the chairman of the Congress’s Central Election Authority.
Kharge appeared to be a clear favourite for the Congress presidential election as a galaxy of leaders were present by his side when he filed his nomination papers at the AICC headquarters here.
“I was encouraged by all leaders, party workers and delegates from key states to contest the elections. I thank those who were present by my side at the time of filing the nomination papers,” Kharge told reporters here.
No one from the Gandhi family was present at the AICC headquarters when the leaders filed their nominations for the election.
Tharoor, 66, described his electoral opponent Kharge as the ‘Bhishma Pitamah’ of the party.
“It is a privilege to serve the only party in India with an open democratic process to choose its leader,” Tharoor said after filing his nomination papers.
“It is a friendly contest that is going to happen. We are not enemies or rivals. No disrespect to him but I will represent my ideas,” the Lok Sabha member from Thiruvananthapuram told reporters.
Friday was the last day for filing nomination papers. Over 9,100 delegates are eligible to cast their votes in the October 17 election. The result will be announced on October 19.