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NEW DELHI: An ex-United Nations diplomat and a veteran politician emerged on Friday as contenders to lead India’s main opposition Congress party as it prepares to elect a new president from outside the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty for the first time in nearly 25 years.

Shashi Tharoor, a three-term federal lawmaker who previously served as a UN Under-Secretary General, said he had submitted nomination papers to lead the 137-year-old party.

The Congress, which helped lead India’s struggle for independence from Britain that was achieved in 1947 and dominated Indian politics for decades afterwards, has mostly been led by a member of the Gandhi family.

Congress party may get first non-Gandhi chief in 25 years

Sonia Gandhi is currently the party’s interim president after her son, Rahul, resigned from the position in July 2019.

The party has seen its fortunes slide, losing two successive general elections since 2014 at the hands of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has also wrested control of some states from the Congress.

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