Today, party members in Tamil Nadu gave Shashi Tharoor, who is seeking to become the first non-Gandhi president of the Congress in more than 20 years, the cold shoulder. The 66-year-old was in Chennai to ask the more than 700 state-eligible Congress delegates for their support. However, barely a dozen or so people showed up for the meeting, which was hosted in Sathiamoorthy Bhavan, the party’s state office in Chennai.
Attending Mr. Tharoor’s meeting, according to sources within the party, would be perceived as opposing the ‘official’ candidate, who reportedly has the Gandhis’ blessing. The late entry after front-runner Ashok Gehlot withdrew from the event is Mallikarjun Kharge.
“If they decide not to attend my meet out of fear, it is their loss. We might have had a productive discussion, “In Chennai, Mr. Tharoor told reporters. “The Gandhis have made it clear that they don’t have a formal nominee. The fallacy that Kharge is the official candidate will be debunked by us “Added he.
The first Congress leader to declare his candidacy for office was Mr. Tharoor. After speaking with Sonia Gandhi, he took that action.
Mrs. Gandhi allegedly said Mr. Tharoor, “You are very welcome to contest,” She had told him that there would be no “official candidate” because every member of her family would remain impartial.
But shortly after announcing his candidacy, Ashok Gehlot, a steadfast supporter of the Gandhi family, shot to the top of the polls.
The conversation quickly took a turn when Mr. Gehlot said he was reluctant to leave Rajasthan. When Rahul Gandhi stated that the party will uphold the “One man, one post” tenet, Mr. Gehlot’s supporters openly rebelled. Gehlot announced he would not run for office after falling out of favour with important central leaders including the Gandhis.
The last-minute selection, Mallikarjun Kharge, had argued that there should be a “consensus candidate.” But there was no resounding approval.
Mr. Tharoor, who was a member of the Group of 27 leaders who wrote an explosive letter to Sonia Gandhi in 2020 demanding organisational changes, has expressed interest in the race.
In response to a query on how the Congress had undermined itself by dismissing stalwarts across India because the leadership viewed them as a threat, Mr. Tharoor said “I favour empowering state officials. I think a robust state leadership would offer the Congress a stronger base for the initiatives it takes on at the central level “.
“We had powerful chief ministers and state leaders throughout Jawaharlal Nehru’s tenure as prime minister in the 1950s and 1960s, including Kamaraj in Tamil Nadu, BC Roy and Atulya Ghosh in Bengal, SK Patil and YB Chavan in Maharashtra, and Govind Vallabh Pant in Uttar Pradesh. Strong state leaders were plentiful, and the national party did not suffer as a result. In fact, it benefited “said he.
Additionally, he stated that he would “welcome former Congress leaders in the BJP to return.”
On October 17, a vote will be taken to elect the president of the Congress, and the results will be announced on October 19.