Tharoor, Gehlot To Run For Congress President If Rahul Gandhi Declines To Contest

by Swarajya Staff - Sep 20, 2022 02:12 PM +05:30 IST
Tharoor, Gehlot To Run For Congress President If Rahul Gandhi Declines To Contest Congress leader Rahul Gandhi with Shashi Tharoor, Member of Parliament. (Sonu Mehta/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
Snapshot
  • The speculation is rife that the elections would have Tharoor and Gehlot as the two main contenders.

For the first time since 1998, the race for Congress presidentship may have names other than from the Gandhi family.

Congress Member of Parliament (MP) and one of the members of the G23 grouping, Shashi Tharoor has reportedly received the nod from interim president, Sonia Gandhi, to run for the party’s presidentship. The other name doing the rounds is of Rajasthan Chief Minister and a family loyalist, Ashok Gehlot.

In the event of Rahul Gandhi not opting for the post, Gehlot would be the next best choice for the Gandhi family to present and protect their interests within the party.

The speculation is rife that the elections would have Tharoor and Gehlot as the two main contenders. Often seen as a “right man in a wrong party”, Tharoor’s candidature would find support from the section of the Congress looking for a major overhaul in the party’s functioning.

Tharoor, who was among the group of 23 leaders who had written to Gandhi in 2020 demanding organisational overhaul, also endorsed a petition on Monday by a group of young party members seeking 'constructive reforms'.

The petition shared by Tharoor on Twitter sought reforms and a pledge by All India Congress Committee (AICC) president candidates to implement the Udaipur Declaration in its entirety if elected. The former Union minister said it had been signed by over 650 people so far.

Meanwhile, the “Make Rahul Gandhi AICC president again” chorus is growing louder in Congress with over half a dozen state units so far seeking his elevation to the top post, even as uncertainty and suspense persisted over whether he would take on the mantle.

After Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Gujarat units of the Congress demanded that Gandhi be made party chief. The party's Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Bihar and Jammu and Kashmir units passed resolutions calling for his elevation to the post of president on Monday.

Gehlot has refrained from confirming his candidature. As per sources, he is still trying to persuade Rahul Gandhi to run for the top post.

Filing of nominations will be held from 24 to 30 September. The last date for withdrawal of nominations is 8 October and the election, if required, will be held on 17 October. The results will be out on 19 October.

(With inputs from PTI)

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