Cong prez poll: Voters seal Kharge & Tharoor's fate; result on Wednesday

Shashi Tharoor; Mallikarjun Kharge. Photo: IANS

New Delhi: Voting ended on Monday in the Congress presidential poll as senior leaders Mallikarjun Kharge and Shashi Tharoor faced off for the post of AICC chief.

About 9,500 Pradesh Congress Committee delegates out of the total 9,900 cast their votes in the Congress presidential polls, the party's central election authority chairman Madhusudan Mistry said on Monday.

The overall voter turnout was about 96 per cent and in small states, it was nearly 100 per cent, he said at a press conference after voting ended in the Mallikarjun Kharge versus Shashi Tharoor contest.

Mistry said by and large the voter turnout in all places was over 90 per cent.

"The most satisfactory thing for us was that in all states where polling booths were set up, no adverse incident was reported. This is a big achievement...polls were held in an open process in a peaceful manner," Mistry said.

"Congress party has shown what internal democracy is and other parties that want to take a lesson from it, can do so," he said.

Mistry said no one should have any apprehensions as it is a secret ballot and nobody will get to know who voted for whom.

Voting began at 10 am at the AICC headquarters here and at the party's polling booths in state offices across the country.

As voting in the Congress presidential poll got underway, outgoing party chief Sonia Gandhi said she had been waiting for a long time for this day.

Sonia Gandhi and Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra came together at the AICC headquarters and cast their vote.

When asked by reporters about the poll, Sonia Gandhi said, "I have been waiting for a long time for this day."

Later, former prime minister Manmohan Singh also cast his ballot in the poll at the party headquarters where the 68th polling booth for the AICC presidential election was set up.

Veteran Congress leader P Chidambaram was the first to cast his vote at the AICC headquarters here.

Kharge is considered the favourite for his perceived proximity to the Gandhis and backing by senior leaders, even as Tharoor has pitched himself as the candidate of change.

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