Will you contest CWC polls? Tharoor has a cryptic answer

Will you contest CWC polls? Tharoor has a cryptic answer

Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Thursday virtually ruled out contesting the CWC polls if the party decides to hold them, saying he is not considering any further elections after having fought the AICC presidential polls and it is “for others to step forward”.

In a chat with news agency PTI on the Congress’ upcoming plenary session in Raipur, Tharoor said the convention comes at an “inflection point” in the party’s history as it is being held after the presidential polls and the Bharat Jodo Yatra, and ahead of the 2024 elections.

The Thiruvananthapuram MP said the plenary could not have come at a more opportune time and gives the party members an opportunity to focus on what “we have gained and what faces the party in terms of challenges for the future”.

Also read: ‘Malfeasance’: Shashi Tharoor’s term for the BJP’s preoccupation with Nehru

‘Sole aim to strengthen the party’

Asked whether he would contest the CWC polls, Tharoor said, “At this point, I am not considering any further elections. I have done my bit, I have made my point. I think it is for others to step forward if they feel that is the way forward.”

Pressed further on if he may later consider contesting if asked by his supporters, Tharoor said at this stage there was no announcement regarding the CWC polls so there was no question of his making a decision. “If at all they are announced, my instinct is that I have already done my contesting as it were and that I should leave it to others. But certainly I will talk to party colleagues if polls are announced. There are colleagues who want to come forward, we will see what is in the best interest of the party,” Tharoor said.

“Ultimately, all these exercises are only to strengthen the party, we don’t want to weaken the party at a time when general elections are one year away…we will do what is best to strengthen the party, including choosing not to fight a poll if that is the sentiment of those who care about the future of the party,” he said.

Also read: PTR in chat with Tharoor: ‘Homogenisation push a threat to federalism’

Cong meet to take a call on CWC polls

According to party sources, members of the Congress Steering Committee would meet on February 24 at Raipur in Chhattisgarh to decide on whether there should be elections to the CWC, the party’s top decision-making body.

On his meeting with Kharge last week, Tharoor said it was largely about the All India Professionals Congress that he heads and some other issues were also discussed. Asked whether he ever felt marginalised after the AICC presidential polls last year, Tharoor said, “My role so far in politics has been fairly clear. I am MP for Thiruvananthapuram which is an important responsibility to fulfil every day. I am at the same time a parliamentarian, available to the party to whatever issue they want me to speak on. I am the chairman of AIPC (All India Professionals Congress) and in addition, I happen to chair a parliamentary standing committee.”

“Those have been my portfolios for a few years now and they continue to remain so,” he said, adding that there has been no change in them for the better or for the worse since the party’s presidential elections.

Also read: Why did BJP govt negotiate ceasefire with Musharraf: Tharoor’s reply to BJP

Plenary session to ratify Kharge’s election

The plenary session from February 24 to 26 is being held to ratify Kharge’s election as Congress president, and the leaders would meet in Raipur to brainstorm the party’s strategy going forward. There has been intense speculation over whether there would be elections for some CWC seats or the president would be authorised to nominate all members.

According to the party constitution, the working committee shall consist of the president of the Congress, the Leader of the Congress Party in Parliament and 23 other members of whom 12 members will be elected by the AICC, as per rules prescribed by the CWC and the rest shall be appointed by the president.

(With inputs from agencies)

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