A total of 30 Congress leaders including Ashok Gehlot, Digvijaya Singh and Manish Tewari have backed Mallikarjun Kharge in the party's presidential polls against his primary challenger Shashi Tharoor.
The Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha has been backed by many senior leaders and others of the Group of 23 (those who are fighting for reforms in the party) and his candidature was proposed by senior leaders including AK Antony, Ashok Gehlot, Digvijaya Singh, Mukul Wasnik, Pramod Tiwari among others.
The party leaders who backed Mallikarjun Kharge's nomination are: AK Antony, Ashok Gehlot, Ambika Soni, Mukul Wasnik, Anand Sharma, Abhishek Singhvi, Ajay Maken, Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Digvijaya Singh, Tariq Anwar, Salman Khurshid, Akhilesh Prasad Singh, Deepender Singh Hooda, V Narayanasamy, V Vaithilingam, Pramod Tiwari, PL Punia, Avinash Pandey, Rajeev Shukla, Syed Naseer Hussain, Manish Tewari, Raghuvir Singh Meena, Dhiraj Prasad Sahu, Tarsem Chand Bagri, Prithviraj Chavan, Kamleshwar Patel, Moolchand Meena, Dilip Gajjar, Sanjay Kapoor and Vinit Punia.
Earlier in the day, Kharge filed his nomination for the president of Congress and said he was fighting for a big change in the party.
"I thank all the leaders, workers, delegates and ministers who came in support of me today and encouraged me. We will see the results on October 17. I am hopeful that I will win," Kharge said addressing a press conference after filing nominations at the All India Congress Committee office in Delhi today.
"I have been connected to the ideology of Congress since my childhood, I used to campaign for the same Gandhi-Nehru ideology when I was in class 8 and 9," the 80-year-leader said adding that the efforts to revive the party shall continue.
Notably, Congress MP and G-23 member Shashi Tharoor and Jharkhand leader KN Tripathi have also filed their nominations for the party president post today.
Terming Kharge as the 'Bhishma Pita' of the Congress, Tharoor said that he will not withdraw his nomination and that the contest will be friendly and there is no rivalry between the candidates.
Both Tewari and Tharoor belong to the G-23 grouping of senior leaders within the party. Reports had suggested Tewari was himself thinking of contesting.
Meanwhile, former Madhya Pradesh CM Digvijaya Singh dropped out of the Congress presidential race. He too extended his support to Kharge, saying he "cannot think of contesting an election" against a senior leader like Kharge.
Singh was the second Congress leader to pull out of the race after Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot amid political turmoil in his state. Gehlot said he would be the proposer for Kharge.
Nominations for the post of Congress president closed at 3 pm today and results will be declared on October 19. (ANI)