New Delhi: Congress leader and Member of Parliament Shashi Tharoor on Monday received the nod from Sonia Gandhi to contest in the upcoming poll for the party president’s post, sources said.
Tharoor received interim-party president Sonia Gandhi’s go-ahead after he met her here.
According to sources, Tharoor, during the meeting, expressed his wish to contest the elections scheduled to be held on October 17 to “make internal democracy” in the party stronger. Gandhi, in response, gave her nod to the Thiruvananthapuram MP and said that anybody can contest elections.
The source further added, “Senior Congress leader and MP Shashi Tharoor gets a nod from Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi to contest for the post of the party president, after he reached out to her in a meeting today, citing he can make internal democracy stronger. Sonia Gandhi, Congress interim president, replied that he (Shashi Tharoor) can contest (for the post of the party president) if he wants, anybody can contest elections,”.
Notably, Tharoor is one of the signatories of a letter written to Sonia Gandhi by the G-23 group (seeking reforms in the party). The meeting has brought clarity to his contesting the party president polls, which earlier was a matter of much speculation.
Congress General Secretary Incharge of Communication Jairam Ramesh while speaking to ANI about Tharoor’s candidature said that anybody who wants to contest is free and welcome to do so. “This has been the consistent position of CP (Congress President) and RG (Rahul Gandhi). This is an open, democratic and transparent process. Nobody needs anybody’s nod to contest,”.
The meeting with Sonia Gandhi took place after Tharoor welcomed a petition seeking party reforms. “I welcome this petition that is being circulated by a group of young @INCIndia members, seeking constructive reforms in the Party. It has gathered over 650 signatures so far. I am happy to endorse it & go beyond it. https://memo.withinc.in”, Tharoor had tweeted.
Earlier, in his article in a Malayalam daily on presidential elections, he said that people are free to speculate whether he would contest for the top post in the party.
Tharoor said, “The point I put forward in the article is that elections are a good thing for the party. A democratic country like ours needs a democratic party. I welcome Congress’s decision to conduct polls. People are free to speculate as they like.”
The Thiruvananthapuram MP also welcomed elections in the party and said that Rahul Gandhi’s refusal to be appointed as the Congress president was disappointing. According to him, however, the party should not be limited by the belief that only one family can lead it.
Tharoor further said, “The process is a few weeks away. Let us wait for the time the procedures begin. In my article, I said multiple candidates will be a good idea. At the end of the day, only one person emerges but the process attracts a lot of attention.”
Tharoor had penned an article in Malayalam daily Mathrubhumi saying that the party polls were the first step towards rejuvenation of the organisation. What transpired in the meeting today is yet to be known.
However, several leaders have expressed their demand that Rahul Gandhi accept the position.
Congress Rajya Sabha MP Mallikarjun Kharge is of the opinion that Rahul Gandhi should take the lead of the Congress party since he has the ability to lift the party from the crisis.
The election of the Congress president post will be held on October 17 as per the decision of the Congress Working Committee (CWC). The counting of votes will be done on October 19.