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Congress needs Shashi Tharoor as president, but won’t get him; An analysis

Rahul Gandhi is to be credited for putting Mallikarjun Kharge and Shashi Tharoor in competition for the leadership position within the Congress. It had appeared that Mr. Tharoor and Ashok Gehlot would face off in the election a few days prior. Both supporters and opponents of the Congress are closely monitoring this unusual event. The issue with the Congress party is the inbreeding, which only results in shoots that are malformed and stunted. The Gandhi family is idolised by Congress workers, but they loathe the hegemony of a small group of families that stifles all of their opportunities for advancement. According to Mr. Gandhi, the Congress needs to attract a lot of individuals who are now outside to join them inside.

The Congress party would have benefited greatly from a Tharoor vs. Gehlot contest. Mr. Gehlot is both charming and cunning. Few members of Congress has the ability to comprehend the typical worker like he does. Mr. Gehlot, a representative of the Backward Caste and the epitome of an organiser, would have given the party new life and drive, especially in the Hindi heartland where it is still losing ground. His work ethic, tenacity, and pure intelligence—a quality that few in the party’s top machinery currently possess—more than make up for his lack of personality. As president, Mr. Gehlot would have given the cadre more energy and drawn newer members from the BJP.

Mr. Kharge is also an insider; nevertheless, he does not benefit from this status. Despite being kind and courteous, he is past his prime at the age of 80. Although he is a Dalit, he would not be anticipating a boom in Dalit support for the party as a result of him. Few people purchased the Dalit identity that the Congress attempted to sell in the early-year election to sell Charanjit Singh Channi, its accidental Chief Minister in Punjab. While the BJP promotes younger, more vibrant leaders who speak to newer social boundaries by retiring leaders at 75, the Congress is held prisoner by the old and the tired. For the Congress, Mr. Kharge is ineffective. He is not likely to change anything as president.

Mr. Tharoor is the one speaking to a group of voters who are not currently supporting the Congress. Although the Indian middle class is dissatisfied with the BJP, it does not see the Congress as a good alternative. Some of Mr. Tharoor’s detractors are now pointing out that he is not a native Congressman. This could work to the party’s favour rather than being a detriment. He stands for the merit that the Congress is accused of ignoring. The middle class perceives the party as lacking dynamism, aspiration, and ambition, which he embodies. His foray into politics didn’t involve the Rajya Sabha. Three times, Mr. Tharoor has faced opposition in Thiruvananthapuram, a challenging Lok Sabha seat for the Congress. He exited in a flying motion.

The Congress must tell and sell a story to Indian voters more than anything else. When it comes to social, economic, and political matters, Mr. Tharoor does a good job of echoing Mr. Gandhi’s beliefs. Mr. Tharoor’s opponents in 2009’s first election made fun of him for speaking a poor Malayalam. ‘I speak Malayalam well enough to comprehend what you are saying. And I know Hindi and English better than my detractors to bring up those issues in parliament,’ he said in his winning campaign speech. He now has enough knowledge of the Congress without being entangled in its machinations, and he is better equipped than others to represent the Congress to India’s growing middle class. The Congress needs him, but, sadly, won’t get.


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