mistry: Madhusudan Mistry: Congress’ ‘TN Seshan’ who presided over party’s 6th prez polls in its history

AICC Central Electoral Authority chairman Madhusudan Mistry, dubbed the “TN Seshan of Congress” by many party colleagues, led the sixth polls in the party’s history to elect its chairman, while deftly navigating talk of unlevel playing field and navigated the constant media glare.

Mistry is considered the trusted man of former Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and has often been the party’s go-to man for daunting tasks, including taking over Narendra Modi in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls from Vadodara.

The election campaign between senior party leaders Mallikarjun Kharge and Shashi Tharoor came 22 years after Sonia Gandhi inflicted a crushing defeat on Jitendra Prasada. The election, crowned by Kharge defeating Tharoor, the former receiving 7,897 votes and the latter 1,072 votes, proved a lengthy affair and a difficult challenge for Mistry.

Tharoor, who had raised issues of an unlevel playing field, also hailed Mistry as “fair minded” and pointed out that there were “flaws” in the party’s system as no such election had been held for 22 years.

Mistry’s fairness and conscientiousness are praised by many in the party.

“Mistry ji is TN Seshan with flowing strands of hair. He was tough, conscientious and very demanding about a free, fair and transparent election,” Congress Secretary-General Jairam Ramesh said, comparing Mistry to the former chief election commissioner, for whom he was known for being strict and non-partisan.

“I had to get three speakers to resign on orders from him so they could campaign for a candidate,” Ramesh told PTI.

Mistry sets high standards of impartiality and indeed any complaints about the electoral process are totally “misplaced and unfounded,” he said.

Mistry’s political journey has been interesting and has also seen many ups and downs. He was a member of Shankersinh Vaghela’s Rashtriya Janata Party (RJP). He then became a member of the Indian National Congress when RJP merged with him.

Mistry was elected to the 13th Lok Sabha on a congressional ticket in 2001, in a Sabarkantha by-election. He was then re-elected to the 14th Lok Sabha by Sabarkantha in 2004 and served on several parliamentary committees.

He lost the 2009 Lok Sabha elections from the same constituency to the BJP’s Mahendrasinh Chauhan.

Mistry was selected for the daunting task of taking on Modi at the 2014 Lok Sabha polls in Vadodara, but lost by a wide margin.

In 2014 he was nominated by the Congress Party for Rajya Saha. Mistry has also held many organizational positions within the AICC, including acting Secretary General of politically pivotal Uttar Pradesh.

Although he has fought many crucial political battles, observers consider the challenge of conducting AICC presidential polls 22 years after the party’s last election campaign to be the most difficult.

Although claims of an unequal playing field on the part of the Tharoor camp presented a challenge, Mistry’s skillful handling closed the polls, with both candidates accepting the result and pledging to move on.

Careful choice of words when speaking to the media, being brief and not getting caught up in verbal duels were his strengths that helped him get the job done for Congress.

https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/madhusudan-mistry-congress-tn-seshan-who-presided-over-partys-6th-prez-polls-in-its-history/articleshow/94971800.cms mistry: Madhusudan Mistry: Congress’ ‘TN Seshan’ who presided over party’s 6th prez polls in its history

Russell Falcon

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