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Shashi Tharoor: We Will Dispel The Myth That Kharge Is Official Candidate For Congress President Post

Shashi Tharoor: We Will Dispel The Myth That Kharge Is Official Candidate For Congress President Post

Even though only 12 out of 700 Congress delegates attended the meet called by Shashi Tharoor, the undeterred Thiruvananthapuram MP announced a 10-point manifesto, and said party should reform their functions.

Congress leader and Thiruvananthapuram MP Shashi Tharoor
Congress leader and Thiruvananthapuram MP Shashi Tharoor PTI

Congress leader Shashi Tharoor was in Chennai on Thursday to seek the support of the 700-plus Congress delegates from the state to vote for him for the post of the first non-Gandhi president of the Congress, only 12 or so attended the meeting. Despite the meagre turnout at the party's state headquarters, Sathiamoorthy Bhavan, the 66-year-old is undeterred and announced a 10-point manifesto. 

“It is their loss if they are afraid to attend my meet. We could have had a constructive exchange. The Gandhis have clarified that they have no official candidate. We will dispel the myth that Kharge is the official candidate,” Tharoor told reporters in Chennai. The election for the Congress president will be held on October 17 and the votes will be counted on October 19.

Tharoor had recently tweeted asking for votes. Decentralising powers, strengthening party at the booth level, utilising general secretaries for nation-building activities while dispensing their services as state in-charges, and trusting state presidents by giving them a free hand in decision-making besides limiting their term of office, are among the 10 points highlighted in the manifesto. 


The manifesto focuses on the need for Congress to return to the ethos of social work, Tharoor added. "We need to reform the way our party functions. We need to bring young people in the party and give them real authority. At the same time, we should give greater respect to hardworking and long-serving karyakartas,” he said, adding that popular connect with people is fundamental and this was being illustrated by the successful Bharat Jodo Yatra of party leader Rahul Gandhi.

“We are the party of inclusive India. This is the idea we stood and fought for and we must reiterate it. This, I believe will make Congress politically fit to take on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his BJP in the 2024 (general) election,” Thiruvananthapuram MP said releasing his poll manifesto.

Tharoor was the first leader in Congress to announce his candidature for the election. He did so after a meeting with Sonia Gandhi, who he says had assured him there would be no "official candidate" as her entire family would stay neutral.

Stating that he has great regard for party veteran Mallikarjun Kharge, the other candidate in the race, Tharoor said the contest was friendly based on different approaches to face the BJP and not ideological, as both hailed from the same party.

Ashok Gehlot, the longtime loyalist of the Gandhi family, had announced his candidature but indicated he was averse to move out of Rajasthan. After Rahul Gandhi made it clear that the party will stick to its ‘One Man One Post’ rule, Mr Gehlot’s followers launched an open rebellion. Falling into disfavour with key central leaders and the Gandhis, Mr Gehlot said he would not contest.  

Tharoor, who was part of the group of 27 leaders who demanded organisational changes in an explosive letter to Sonia Gandhi in 2020, has been keen on the contest.

"In the '50s and '60s when Jawaharlal Nehru was a very strong  Prime Minister, we had very strong chief ministers, strong like Kamaraj in Tamil Nadu, BC Roy and Atulya Ghosh in Bengal, SK Patil and YB Chavan in Maharashtra, Govind Vallabh Pant in Uttar Pradesh. We had so many examples of strong state leaders and the national party did not suffer because of that but it gained because of that," he said. He also added that he would "invite ex-Congress leaders in BJP to return".  

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