On Tuesday, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor indicated that the election for a new chief will be good for the party, and expressed hope that there would be “several candidates”. This comes amid reports that the Congress MP may be one of the candidates contesting for the post. The Congress is set to hold an election to select their party’s new president, on October 17.
In an article that Tharoor wrote for the Malayalam daily ‘Mathrubhumi’, he reportedly said that electing a new president for the party is a revitalisation that the Congress is in dire need of. He also went on to compare the ongoing race for leadership to the one going on for the British Conservative Party, saying that it would “increase the national interest in the party and galvanise more voters towards the Congress party once again”.
This article triggered speculations that Tharoor may be running for the upcoming polls. He also mentioned that it would be a “free and fair” election, adding that ideally the party should have announced the elections for the dozens of seats on the Congress Working Committee (CWC) which are also to be elected. “We have seen global interest in the British Conservative Party during their recent leadership race, a phenomenon we have already witnessed in 2019, when a dozen candidates contested to replace Theresa May and Boris Johnson emerged on top,” he said in an article.
Furthermore, he expressed hope that several candidates come forward to present themselves for consideration and put forward their vision for the party and the nation, which would “stir public interest”. However, in an interview, he also spoke about his interest in Kerala’s politics, where the Congress is reportedly a “serious contender for power”. Tharoor also expressed his interest in becoming the chief minister, saying that given the opportunity, “I would grab it because there are things that need to be done.”
During the interview, the Congress MP hinted that he would stay away from the 2024 general elections. “All I am saying is that I am seriously examining all the options before me. It is the party that will decide whether to allot a seat to me or not. If my party gives me a ticket to the contest, that could be one option. There are other options too,” said Tharoor.
When questioned about the “other options”, he stayed mum. Tharoor, a day after the aforementioned article was published and amid the buzz of his potential candidacy, told PTI, that he is “exploring the possibility of running for the post of the Congress President though he is yet to take a final call on it”.
The Thiruvananthapuram MP welcomed the new election and expressed disappointment at Congress MP Rahul Gandhi’s refusal to contest. Tharoor also said that according to him the Congress should not be limited to the belief that only one family can lead it. On the other hand, Rajya Sabha MP Mallikarjun Kharge opined that Rahul Gandhi should take the lead.
“Today the entire situation has become clear regarding the election of the Congress Party President. I have my personal opinion and it is the feeling of all workers that Rahul Gandhi should take the lead of the Congress party at this time. He should become the president of the Congress party,” said Kharge to ANI.
Reportedly, the Congress is in the midst of an internal upheaval. The election for party president will be held on October 17, and the results will be announced two days later. The filling for nominations will be held between September 24 and 30. During a press conference, on Sunday, where the party announced this schedule, All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary KC Venugopal indicated, “Anybody can contest the election. It is an open election.”