Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge, who is one of the candidates in the party's forthcoming president election, today said he had told Shashi Tharoor, the other candidate in the fray, that "it is much better to have a consensus candidate for the president's post". He also said that it was on the insistence of senior party leaders that he decided to fight for the party president's post.
Explaining the reason behind his decision to contest the election, he said: "As Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi didn't want to fight the elections, I was asked by my senior colleagues to contest the elections. I'm not fighting against anyone. I'm fighting for the ideology of the Congress party."
He further said: "The status quo and change that Dr Tharoor has been talking about will be decided by the delegates and the All India Congress Committee. One person will not be taking the calls, it'll be taken collectively."
He added: "I'm starting my election campaign on the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi and Lal Bahadur Shastri. I've always fought and struggled for my ideology and ethics. I've been Leader of the Opposition, minister and MLA for several years. I want to fight again now and take forward those same ethics and ideology."
Further explaining his candidature, Mr Kharge said: "I am not contesting solely as a Dalit leader. I'm contesting as a Congress leader and will continue to do so."
Election for the Congress president will be held on October 17 and votes will be counted on October 19.