Rashmi Ranjan

With the Congress party all set to enter into an electoral contest on Monday to elect its first non-Gandhi president after 24 years, special arrangements have been made in the party’s headquarters in Bhubaneswar where more than 400 party leaders from Odisha will exercise their franchise to elect the new party chief.

According to sources, the OPCC has as many as 427 eligible voters who will cast their votes at the party headquarters from 10 am to 4 pm.

The voting would take place at the AICC headquarters in Delhi and at 67 polling booths across the country in an electoral contest that is taking place for the sixth time in the party's 137-year history.

Around 9,300 Pradesh Congress Committee delegates will vote at the booths to pick the party chief in a secret ballot. 

It is worthwhile to mention here that senior party leaders Mallikarjun Kharge and Shashi Tharoor are in the fray for the top post.

While party chief Sonia Gandhi and Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra are expected to vote at the AICC headquarters, Rahul Gandhi will be voting at the 'Bharat Jodo Yatra' campsite in Karnataka's Sanganakallu in Ballari along with around 40 other 'Bharat Yatris' who are PCC delegates.

Tharoor will cast his vote at the Kerala Congress headquarters at Thiruvananthapuram, while Kharge will vote at the Karnataka Congress office in Bengaluru.

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

Once the voting process ends, all the ballet boxes will be brought to the AICC headquarters in New Delhi.

The results will be declared as soon as the counting of the votes ends on Wednesday.