Congress leader P Chidambaram on Monday said that the new party president must listen to the views of the Gandhi family, NDTV reported.

“No one is saying the voice of the Gandhis will diminish,” Chidambaram told the television channel in an interview. “...The Gandhis will be there and they will have a view.”

The election to pick the next Congress chief ended on Monday. Congress leaders Shashi Tharoor and Mallikarjun Kharge are contesting the polls.

According to the Congress Central Election Authority Chairperson Madhusudan Mistry, 9,500 out of 9,900 party delegates eligible to vote cast their ballots in the poll. The results will be announced on October 19. The winner will replace the longest-serving Congress President Sonia Gandhi.

This is the first time in over 24 years that no member of the Gandhi family contested for the Congress’ top post. The last such occasion was in 1997, when Sitaram Kesri had emerged victorious against Sharad Pawar and Rajesh Pilot.

On Monday, Chidambaram said that while most of the decisions related to the party will be taken by the new president, some will also involve other leaders.

“The major decisions would have to involve other leaders, the Congress Working Committee, the parliamentary board, in which Gandhis will surely be represented,” he told NDTV. “How can you imagine that the Gandhis, post today, will vanish from CWC, parliamentary board?”

He also dismissed the allegation that the new Congress president will be “remote-controlled” by the Gandhi family.

“That is stock criticism,” he said. “The allegation of the Gandhis remote controlling is an assumption. Let us assume the Gandhis will still have a great degree of influence at the national level. But when it percolates down, you think the Gandhis will be able to dictate once leaders are elected at the district level through elections?”

The job of the new president would be to fix the organisation, hold elections and build teams, he added.