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Shashi Tharoor plans to run for Congress president; Report

New Delhi: Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor is considering running for Congress president, though he has not made a final decision, according to sources. They stated that he has not made up his mind, but that he may make a decision soon. While Mr Tharoor has refused to say whether he will run, he has written an article for the Malayalam daily ‘Mathrubhumi’ calling for a ‘free and fair’ election.

In the article, he stated that the party should have announced elections for the dozen seats on the Congress Working Committee (CWC) that 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 legitimise the incoming set of leaders and give them a credible mandate to lead the party,’ said Mr Tharoor, who was among the group of 23 leaders who wrote to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi in 2020 seeking organisational reforms.

In turn, the Congress worker, who has already had to deal with the disappointment of the recent election results, risks further demoralisation, he says. ‘The departure of valued colleagues does not help. I personally regret these departures because I would have preferred that these friends stay in the party and continue to fight for its reform ‘, he stated.

‘As a signatory to the so-called ‘G-23’ letter, I can say that it reflected long-standing concerns among party members and well-wishers seeking a revitalised Congress. These were concerns about the party’s operations rather than its ideology or values. Our only goal was to strengthen and revitalise the party rather than to divide or weaken it ‘, Tharoor wrote a letter.

Faced with internal strife, the Congress announced on Sunday that the election for its president would take place on October 17, claiming that it is the only party in the country that follows such a democratic process. The outcome will be announced on October 19. The election notification will be issued on September 22, and nomination filing will begin on September 24 and continue until September 30.

K C Venugopal, AICC general secretary organisation, said at the press conference where the party announced the schedule, ‘The election is open to anyone. It is a free and open election’. The CWC meeting took place after several leaders, including Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, publicly urged Rahul Gandhi to return as party leader. However, the issue remains fraught with uncertainty and suspense. According to several party insiders, Rahul Gandhi is sticking to his position that he will not be AICC president.

Mr Gehlot tried to downplay reports that he was the frontrunner for the Congress president’s post on Wednesday, saying he would work until the end to persuade Rahul Gandhi to take over the reins of the party again. Rahul Gandhi resigned as Congress president after the party was defeated for the second time in a row in the 2019 parliamentary elections.

Sonia Gandhi, who took over the party as interim president again, had also offered to resign in August 2020 following an open revolt by a group of leaders known as the G-23, but the CWC urged her to stay.





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