National

On The Eve Of Congress Presidential Poll, Tharoor Alleges ‘Uneven Bounce’, Doesn’t Want ‘Pitch Tampering’

The National Congress today is going to elect its first Non-Gandhi president in the last two decades. Mallikarjun Kharge though is the clear favourite, nobody is ready to accept his ‘official’ status.  

Shashi Tharoor in Lucknow
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As the pitch is ready for the Congress to elect its first Non-Gandhi president in last two decades, the questions over partiality are not leaving them. While giving an interview to PTI, Shashi Tharoor, who has been contesting the senior party leader Mallikarjun Kharge said that he is batting on a track with an "uneven bounce" and doesn't want “pitch tampering”.

Referring to the fairness of the election procedures and the unbiasedness of Madhusudan Mistry, the Chief Election officer for Congress presidential election, Tharoor said, “I had said there is an uneven playing field but that doesn't mean that (Madhusudan) Mistryji is unfair. I think he is very fair-minded, and it is feasible to get a fair result from his system. However, in the party we see that the work done by some leaders isn't quite fair.”

The Kerala MP who roamed around 12-13 states to seek the support of different Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) said that in Madhya Pradesh it was ‘fair’. However, there was a not-so-well-read silence when it came to Uttar Pradesh. Pointing out that the party needs rejuvenation everywhere including Uttar Pradesh where the voting percentage for the party has been reduced to 3%, the leader said, “We have to definitely rejuvenate the party everywhere, including UP.”

Tharoor, who contested the UN General Secretary election in 2006 however thinks that it was much easier due to less number of voters. “That was 15 voters and not difficult to contacting them because there were 15 capitals, 15 foreign ministers and 15 governments. Here we are talking about 9,000 (voters),” he added.

The South Indian leader who was earlier mocked at for his Hindi in the Hindi hinterland said, “My Hindi was always like this. The problem was that I don't use it inside Parliament because I am a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to the language.”

Reflecting upon the gender question of Hindi language, Tharoor continued, “I do not understand why a table is masculine and why a flower is feminine. Since every word spoken inside Parliament is recorded, I do not use Hindi. But I do give sound bytes outside Parliament.”

The Official candidate Debate

Since the candidature of the Mallikarjun Kharge has been finalised, there has been debates going on whether Kharge is the official candidate of the party. Earlier, the former leader of the opposition in Rajya Sabha himself clarified that he would not be run by any remote control. However, in a recent statement, he has also said that he would like to consult things with Gandhis, as he believes in consensus.

Tharoor though earlier had batted for the propagated objectivity, he couldn’t avoid the jibes of being the rebel candidate. The former G23 member who wrote letter to Sonia Gandhi for transparency in the elections and party affairs took a veiled attack at the Kharge camp saying some colleagues were indulging in "netagiri" and telling party workers that they know whom Sonia Gandhi wants elected.

However, he also made it clear that as per his communication with the Gandhi supreme, there is no official candidate for the party. “I also asked Sonia Gandhi how she views the elections. She said it is very good for the party and you fight with full courage and we will stay neutral. She had said that there will be no official candidate from their side,” the Kerala MP added.

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As a believer in the decentralisation of power, Tharoor thinks that the party president must be accessible to all and the decisions must not be coming from only Delhi.

The Election procedure and the Votaries

The National Congress will elect its party president after two decades. Last time, Sitaram Keshari was the non-Gandhi president of the party who was subsequently replaced by Sonia Gandhi.

The voting for the post will be conducted through secret ballot. 9300 delegates across the country will vote from their own states. Rahul Gandhi will be voting from Karnataka where currently his Bharat Jodo Yatra is going through. Notably, UP has 1250 delegates with an overwhelming power to tweak the election.

The poll results will come out on October 19.

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