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Tharoor might contest Cong prez poll, calls for ‘free and fair’ election

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Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor is exploring the possibility of running for the post of Congress president though he is yet to take a final call on it, sources said.

While Tharoor declined to comment, he has written an article for the Malayalam daily Mathrubhumi in which he called for a “free and fair” election.

In the article, he wrote- ideally the party should have announced elections also for the dozen seats on the CWC itself which are supposed to be elected.

“Allowing members of the party drawn from the AICC and PCC delegates to determine who will lead the party from these key positions, would have helped legitimize the incoming set of leaders and give them a credible mandate to lead the party,” said Tharoor, who was among the group of 23 leaders who wrote to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi in 2020 seeking organisational reforms.

“Still, electing a fresh president is a start towards the revitalisation the Congress badly needs,” the Thiruvananthapuram MP said.

Beneficial effects

Tharoor said the election also has other beneficial effects — for instance, “we have seen the global interest in the British Conservative Party during their recent leadership race, a phenomenon we already witnessed in 2019, when a dozen candidates contested to replace Theresa May, and Boris Johnson emerged on top”.

Replicating a similar scenario for the Congress will similarly increase the national interest in the party and galvanise more voters towards the Congress party once again, he said in the article.

“For this reason, I hope that several candidates come forward to present themselves for consideration. Putting forward their visions for the party and the nation will surely stir public interest,” he wrote.

While the party as a whole is in need of renewal, the most urgent leadership position that needs to be filled is naturally that of the Congress president, Tharoor said.

Internal upheaval

Given the current state of the party, the perception of crisis and the national picture, whoever assumes the mantle of president will undoubtedly need to achieve the twin goals of energising the Congress party workers and inspiring the voters.

“He or she should have a plan to fix what ails the party, as well as a vision for India. After all, a political party is an instrument to serve the country, not an end in itself,” he said. “A free and fair election process would be a healthy way to go about settling the issue. It would legitimise the mandate being offered to the incoming president.”

Facing internal upheaval, the Congress on Sunday announced that the election for its president would be held on October 17.

The result will be declared on October 19.

CWC meeting

At the press conference where the party announced the schedule, AICC general secretary organisation K C Venugopal said, “Anybody can contest the election. It is an open election.”

The CWC meeting came amid several leaders, including Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, having publicly exhorted Rahul Gandhi to return as the party chief.

However, uncertainty and suspense continue on the issue. Several party insiders say Rahul Gandhi is persisting with his stance that he will not be the AICC president.

Rahul Gandhi had resigned as Congress president after the party suffered its second consecutive defeat in the 2019 parliamentary elections.

Published on

August 30, 2022



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