Shashi Tharoor, Congress presidential polls, Congress, Mallikarjun Kharge, Rahul

Tharoor meets Sonia after endorsing petition backing Congress reforms

Ahead of the critical election to the post of Congress president, Shashi Tharoor on Monday (September 19) met party’s interim chief Sonia Gandhi at her residence. However, the Kerala MP, who had just given his public approval to a petition seeking reforms in the party, did not disclose what transpired during the meeting.

The meeting comes amid talk that Tharoor may contest the Congress president’s election and may file his nominations which will begin on September 25. Also, the Jammu and Kashmir, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra units have passed a resolution seeking the return of Rahul Gandhi as president of the party.

Also read: Congress prez poll: Shashi Tharoor may contest; calls for ‘free and fair’ election

Similar resolutions were passed by Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Gujarat state units though Rahul has made it clear to senior leaders that he does not want to return to the helm of the party. The Jharkhand unit is likely to pass a similar resolution tomorrow on September 20.

Senior leader JP Agarwal too met Sonia and told her that all Congressmen want Rahul to be the president. But, whether he contests or not is his decision. Tharoor and G-23 leaders want a contest, while senior leaders like P Chidambaram and Jairam Ramesh are advocating a consensus candidate.

Tharoor endorses petition seeking Congress reforms

Hours before meeting Sonia, the Congress MP from Thiruvananthapuram, had endorsed on Twitter a petition by a group of young party members seeking reforms and a pledge by the Congress presidential candidates to implement the party’s Udaipur declaration. The “Udaipur declaration” adopted by the Congress leadership in May sums up the party’s commitment to fair internal elections and rules that allow one candidate per family and one person per post, besides a five-year cap on posts.

Tharoor wrote in his post: “I welcome this petition that is being circulated by a group of young Congress members, seeking constructive reforms in the Party. It has gathered over 650 signatures so far. I am happy to endorse it & to go beyond it”.

Tharoor has been a member of the G23, who has been critical of the Congress leadership, was also a signatory to the letter to Sonia demanding organisational overhaul. The Congress general secretary in-charge for Jharkhand, Avinash Pandey, also met the Congress president at her residence and is learnt to have discussed the political situation in the state. Deepender Hooda also met Sonia at her residence, as the notification for the party president’s election will be issued on Thursday.

Also read: Party chief polls: Tharoor, four other Cong MPs seek transparency

Sonia is also expected to meet Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and other leaders before the notification is issued to decide on a candidate. Media reports said that Sonia had earlier asked Gehlot to lead the party but the regional satrap is not keen to relinquish his post in his state and make way for Sachin Pilot to take over the reins of the government.

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