Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor may contest the election for the party president and is set to take a decision soon, a report said on Tuesday (August 30).
The Thiruvananthapuram MP has called for a “free and fair” election, which will be held on October 17 and the result declared two days later.
A PTI report, citing sources, said Tharoor is exploring the possibility of running for the post of Congress president.
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Sources said he has not made up his mind but could take a call on it soon. However, Tharoor is yet to make any comment about his candidature.
Revitalising the party
He has written an article for the Malayalam daily Mathrubhumi calling for a “free and fair” election.
In the article, he has said 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,” he said.
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”.
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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.
‘Vision for India’
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.
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.
“Either way, 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,” he said.
On the recent exit of party veteran Ghulam Nabi Azad, Tharoor wrote that the latest in a steady spate of departures has been fuelling incessant media speculation and a daily dose of obituaries for the party.
Also read: Ghulam Nabi Azad’s desertion: What does it mean for Cong in J&K?
‘No reason to write off Congress’
In turn, the Congress worker, who has already had to contend with the disappointment of the recent election results, risks further demoralisation, he said.
“The exit of valued colleagues does not help. I personally regret these departures, because I would have wanted these friends to stay in the party and continue to fight to reform it,” he said.
“As a signatory of the so-called G-23 letter, I should say that it reflected concerns building up over many months among party members and well-wishers who wanted a re-energised Congress. These concerns were about the party’s functioning not its ideology or values. Our only intention was to strengthen and revive the party, not to divide or weaken it. We sought an effective Congress party to challenge what the BJP is doing to the country,” Tharoor wrote.
According to him, there is no national alternative to the BJP apart from the Congress.
“… there is no reason to write off the Congress Party. For one, there simply exists no other national alternative to the domination of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party which has a comparable pan-Indian presence,” he said