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Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Shashi Tharoor to Run for Congress Presidential Election

Sources said Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, who is also considered loyal to the Gandhi family, will visit Delhi on October 25 and file his nomination the next day

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INDIA. Delhi: Congress leader and one of the party’s staunchest advocates of change, Shashi Tharoor, has been given the go-ahead by party chief Sonia Gandhi to run for president in next month’s internal elections. His opponent will be Ashok Gehlot, sources said.

Shashi Tharoor, a prominent member of the Congress G-23 or group of 23 leaders who wrote to Sonia Gandhi in 2020 demanding internal reforms, has indicated that he will run for Congress president.

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Sources said Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, who is also considered loyal to the Gandhi family, will visit Delhi on October 25 and file his nomination the next day.

Ashok Gehlot; Photo Credit: Twitter

Although Tharoor is the first to throw his hat in the ring, he is not a Gandhi-backed candidate for the October 17 election, sources say. This is the first time in two decades that a non-Gandi is contesting an election.

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Tharoor reportedly communicated his decision to protest at his meeting this afternoon with Sonia Gandhi, who is back after a medical abroad.

Mrs Gandhi took over as interim party chief after her son Rahul Gandhi stepped down following his defeat in the 2019 elections.

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Rahul Gandhi, who is currently leading the party’s ‘Bharat Jodo’ yatra, has categorically refused to return as the President despite the relentless request from a section of Congress leaders. Gehlot was one of the leaders who pushed for his return.

Spurred on by Gandhi family loyalists, Congress units in the three states have called for Rahul Gandhi to be named chief fueling suspicions among many that the Gandhis will retain control of the party with or without elections. As the elections approach, such requests are likely to increase.

Last week,  Tharoor was among the leaders who, in a letter to the central election body AICC, sought “transparency and fairness” in the voting process. He was also among the leaders who demanded that the voter list be made public.

This morning,  Tharoor signed a petition by a group of young party members demanding a reshuffle. The petition referred to the “Udaipur Declaration” in May, which commits to fair elections and rules such as one candidate per family and one person per post, apart from a five-year cap on party posts.

Elections for the post of Congress president will be held next month after two years of deliberation on the subject. In three days, the submission of nominations for the post of president will begin.

The election will be held against the backdrop of the exit of several key leaders over the past year – including Kapil Sibal, Jaiveer Shergill, Sunil Jakhar, Amarinder Singh, RPN Singh, Ashwani Kumar and Hardik Patel.

Last on the list is senior leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, whose departure has been echoed by most of the leaders of the party’s Jammu and Kashmir unit.

Also Read: Congress To Elect New Chief on October 17

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