Congress MP Shashi Tharoor on Monday made it clear that he will contest the upcoming election for the party’s national president, adding that he has the support from most of the state units.
Addressing the media in Palakkad, where Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra reached on Monday on its 19th Day, Tharoor said he had met the Gandhi family and they have nothing against him contesting. “All the three from Gandhi family have told me that they have no issues. They have only good words. I was told that as the media reported, there is no official candidate as such. When a person contests, he should have the confidence…does not matter whoever is the rival. Let everyone make a decision on it. I am of the opinion that there should be as many as contestants. I will be in the fray when I get support from the majority of the states in the country. Many people have called me and urged me (to contest),’’ he said.
Referring to the stand of the Congress unit in Kerala, Tharoor said, “In Kerala also, certainly I will get the support. But, there may be a few (who do not support)…but that doesn’t matter. In a democratic set up, there will be differences of opinion,’’ he said.
He did not comment on the crisis in Rajasthan saying that he was not aware of the development.
Last Saturday, Tharoor had collected the nomination forms soon after the week-long window for filing of the papers opened. A representative of Tharoor arrived at the AICC headquarters with a letter of authorisation from the Thiruvananthapuram MP. He was given five sets of nomination papers by Madhusudan Mistry, the chairman of the Congress Central Election Authority.
Tharoor is contesting the election for the party’s chief at a time when many senior Congress leaders in Kerala wanted Rahul to become the party president. Senior leader Ramesh Chennithala and K Muraleedharan, both former state presidents, have openly aired their opinion that the party in Kerala is in favour of Rahul.
The date for a scrutiny of the nomination papers is October 1, while the last date for withdrawal of nominations is October 8. The final list of candidates will be published at 5 pm on October 8. The polling, if needed, will be held on October 17.
The counting of votes will be taken up on October 19 and the results will be declared the same day.
More than 9,000 Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) delegates will vote in the poll.
The Congress last saw a contest for the party president’s post in November 2000.
Jitendra Prasada had lost to Sonia Gandhi in 2000 and prior to that, Sitaram Kesri had defeated Sharad Pawar and Rajesh Pilot in 1997.