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Congress President polls Highlights: Never expected big leaders’ support, but need everyone’s backing, says Tharoor

Congress Polls, Congress Party President Election 2022 Highlights: Office-bearers told to resign from posts if they want to campaign for candidates; there never was any G-23 group. It was just media’s idea, says Tharoor.

By: Express Web Desk
New Delhi | Updated: October 5, 2022 8:53:39 am
Congress | Congress President | Congress President ElectionTharoor said he could not meet some delegates as their contact details were "missing" from the list he received. (File)

Congress President Election 2022 Highlights: With campaigning for the Congress presidential poll kicking off, party leader Shashi Tharoor on Tuesday said he never expected big leaders to support him and does not expect it even now, but at the same time he needs everyone’s backing. The statement by Tharoor, who arrived in Kerala as part of the poll campaigning, comes in the wake of Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president K Sudhakaran publicly declaring his support for veteran leader Mallikarjun Kharge for the party chief’s post.

The central election authority of the Congress, which is overseeing the elections to the party president’s post, on Monday told office-bearers of the party, both at the national level and in states, not to campaign for either Mallikarjun Kharge or Shashi Tharoor — the candidates in the fray — and asked them to resign from their posts if they want to campaign for any of the two.

As the Congress presidential election hots up, senior leader Shashi Tharoor, who has launched his campaign, said Monday that there was never any G-23 group and that it was all the media’s idea. Speaking to the media in Hyderabad, Tharoor said: “There is no G-23 group, there never was. It was a media idea. As far as I can tell you, a couple of senior leaders wrote us a letter. They invited a large number of people to support them. They told me that they had contacted over 100 people for support. But since the Covid lockdown was on at that time (in 2020), only 23 people were available in Delhi to sign the letter to party chief Sonia Gandhi.”

Live Blog

Congress President polls Highlights: Mallikarjun Kharge says there is no G-23 camp now and all those leaders want to fight unitedly against the RSS-BJP and therefore are supporting him.

18:29 (IST)04 Oct 2022
From the Urdu Press: Kharge vs Tharoor and Rahul Yatra amid rain to PFI ban and KCR’s national party

Two stories have continued to remain in the spotlight in the Urdu Press: the twists and turns in the Congress presidential election and Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra. With the stage set for a contest between veteran leader Mallikarjun Kharge and high-profile MP Shashi Tharoor in the October 17 election to the Congress party’s top post, the Urdu dailies have noted it is going to be a cakewalk for Kharge, who has emerged as the unofficial establishment candidate in the high-stakes election. Tracking the Yatra, which is now passing through the poll-bound Karnataka, the dailies splashed Rahul’s Mysuru speech amid heavy downpour across their pages, highlighting his pitch that “neither rains nor cyclone nor heat nor cold” could stop the march as he took aim at the “double-engine” BJP governments over corruption, unemployment and price rise. Read more.

14:58 (IST)04 Oct 2022
Shashi Tharoor’s winning idea

Congress veteran Mallikarjun Kharge’s claim to be the “candidate of all”, as he launched his presidential campaign on October 2, will be tested in the Congress’s internal election later this month. But for now, with AICC office-bearers and other prominent leaders — including members of the G-23, the so-called rebels — arrayed in his support, Kharge seems to be, despite his protestations to the contrary, the establishment’s candidate. For now, too, his rival, Shashi Tharoor, appears to be the lonely challenger. As it is shaping up, the contest that was so long awaited in Congress and is all too rare in political parties in this country, seems headed towards a let-down rather than a show-down. What else could it be when the apparently stronger candidate prefers “consensus” — that discredited Congress term which reeks of entitlement, complacency and do-nothingness — and the candidate who speaks of the need for a presidential-style debate, a contest of ideas and the necessity of change is widely perceived to be on the weaker wicket? If this presidential contest is Congress’s attempt to break a dismal and congealed status quo and find a way out of its darkening political corner, the possibilities of those expectations being fulfilled seem shrunken already. Read more. 

13:12 (IST)04 Oct 2022
Never expected big leaders' support, but need everyone's backing: Tharoor on Cong prez election

With campaigning for the Congress presidential poll kicking off, party leader Shashi Tharoor on Tuesday said he never expected big leaders to support him and does not expect it even now, but at the same time he needs everyone's backing. The statement by Tharoor, who arrived in Kerala as part of the poll campaigning, comes in the wake of Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president K Sudhakaran publicly declaring his support for veteran leader Mallikarjun Kharge for the party chief's post.

On being asked whether Sudhakaran's public support for Kharge was meant to discourage others from supporting him, Tharoor said, "Maybe. But I am not saying that. I do not need to decipher what is going on in people's minds. I will say one thing, whatever one says secretly or publicly, the ballot is secret.

Regarding Sudhakaran's statement, the Thiruvananthapuram MP said the KPCC chief probably expressed his personal decision and preference and "there is nothing wrong with that." "He cannot give a direction which is clear from the circular issued by the party debarring party office-bearers from campaigning for candidates. But please don't ask me about it. If the election authority wants to do something about it, it is up to them," he said. (PTI)

12:07 (IST)04 Oct 2022
Rejig leaves heartburn in UP Congress ranks, see rushed job due to coming presidential poll

With the newly-appointed Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee (UPCC) president, Brijlal Khabri, and its six regional chiefs – Ajay Rai, Yogesh Dixit, Nasimuddin Siddiqui, Virendra Chaudhary, Nakul Dubey and Anil Yadav – set to assume their offices next week, there seems to be growing resentment among many state unit activists over the point that most of these new appointments are not originally from the party, even as they have raised the question why the All India Congress Committee (AICC) leadership did not entrust the long-standing cadre with the task of reviving the party through these leadership positions. Read more

Former BSP MP and Dalit leader Brijlal Khabri is Congress' Uttar Pradesh unit president. (Image: AICC/website)
11:37 (IST)04 Oct 2022
Watch | Shashi Tharoor: 'We have differences in how to take the party forward'

11:37 (IST)04 Oct 2022
Watch | Mallikarjun Kharge: 'I seek the support and cooperation of all members of the party'

11:33 (IST)04 Oct 2022
Never called Kharge an 'ignorant agent of change': Tharoor

Clarifying that he never called veteran Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge “an ignorant agent of change,” MP Shashi Tharoor Tuesday stated that he was misquoted by a media house to which he recently gave an interview. 

The Thiruvananthapuram MP also demanded that the media organisation issue a correction immediately.

11:26 (IST)04 Oct 2022
In pictures | Tharoor leaves Hyderabad, terms the visit 'quick but useful'
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10:25 (IST)04 Oct 2022
Cong poll: Office-bearers told to resign from posts if they want to campaign for candidates

The central election authority of the Congress, which is overseeing the elections to the party president’s post, on Monday told office-bearers of the party, both at the national level and in states, not to campaign for either Mallikarjun Kharge or Shashi Tharoor — the candidates in the fray — and asked them to resign from their posts if they want to campaign for any of the two.

The Madhusudan Mistry-headed authority came out with a seven-point guidelines in which it also asked state Congress presidents to “extend courtesy to the candidates” during their campaign visits to the states and provide for or arrange meeting hall and other facilities to the candidate who wish to convene a meeting of the PCC delegates, who are the voters in the election. Read more

09:11 (IST)04 Oct 2022
Express Editorial | Shashi Tharoor’s winning idea

Congress veteran Mallikarjun Kharge’s claim to be the “candidate of all”, as he launched his presidential campaign on October 2, will be tested in the Congress’s internal election later this month.

But for now, with AICC office-bearers and other prominent leaders — including members of the G-23, the so-called rebels — arrayed in his support, Kharge seems to be, despite his protestations to the contrary, the establishment’s candidate. For now, too, his rival, Shashi Tharoor, appears to be the lonely challenger.

As it is shaping up, the contest that was so long awaited in Congress and is all too rare in political parties in this country, seems headed towards a let-down rather than a show-down. Read full Editorial here

21:43 (IST)03 Oct 2022
Tharoor picks 'Reinvent Cong' slogan to garner support, rules out differences with Kharge

Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Monday asserted that a reimagined party is needed to take on the BJP, while seeking support from party electors for his candidacy to the post of party chief. Tharoor, who is canvassing for his candidature among party delegates, ruled out ideological difference with veteran leader Mallikarjun Kharge, who is also in the presidential race.

"Let me make clear that I agree with @kharge ji that all of us in @incIndia wish to take on the BJP rather than each other. There is no ideological difference between us. The choice for our voting colleagues Oct 17 is only on how to do it most effectively," Tharoor said in a tweet. His remarks comes a day after Kharge said he conveyed to Tharoor that a consensus candidate would be better, but the Lok Sabha MP insisted on a contest for the "sake of democracy". (PTI)

18:30 (IST)03 Oct 2022
Cong president’s poll: Office-bearers told to resign from posts if they want to campaign for candidates

The central election authority of the Congress, which is overseeing the elections to the party president’s post, on Monday told office-bearers of the party, both at the national level and in states, not to campaign for either Mallikarjun Kharge or Shashi Tharoor — the candidates in the fray — and asked them to resign from their posts if they want to campaign for any of the two.

The Madhusudan Mistry-headed authority came out with a seven-point guidelines in which it also asked state Congress presidents to “extend courtesy to the candidates” during their campaign visits to the states and provide for or arrange meeting hall and other facilities to the candidate who wish to convene a meeting of the PCC delegates, who are the voters in the election. Read more

16:25 (IST)03 Oct 2022
Congress presidential poll: A Kharge win may just be what party’s Karnataka unit needs

With Karnataka leader Mallikarjun Kharge’s election as president of the Congress considered a foregone conclusion, the state unit of the party is hoping for good tidings. Apart from enthusing the Congress worker base in Karnataka, party leaders feel this could provide the healing touch needed by the faction-rid state unit which is often in the news for the wrong reasons. Akram M writes

14:43 (IST)03 Oct 2022
Congress releases guidelines for prez poll, party office-bearers cannot campaign for candidates

Ahead of its presidential poll, the Congress on Monday issued a set of guidelines for the election, debarring party office-bearers from campaigning for candidates. Those who wish to support any candidate will have to first resign from their organisational post, stated the guidelines issued by the Congress' central election authority.

Mallikarjun Kharge and Shashi Tharoor are contesting the Congress president election in their personal capacity, the party said, noting that the "delegates are free to elect any one of them, as per their choice, through ballot paper"

AICC general secretaries/In-charges, secretaries, joint secretaries, Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) presidents, Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leaders, heads of frontal organisations, chiefs of departments, cells and all official spokespersons 'shall not campaign for or against contesting candidates', it said. (PTI)

12:10 (IST)03 Oct 2022
Congress issues 'dos and don'ts' for president polls

12:00 (IST)03 Oct 2022
WATCH | There is no G23 group, it was all the media's idea: Tharoor

Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Monday said that there is no G23 group in the grand old party and it was the idea of media. Mallikarjun Kharge, contesting the Congress president poll along with Tharoor, also reiterated the same about the G23 group yesterday.

10:54 (IST)03 Oct 2022
There is no ideological difference between Kharge and me: Shashi Tharoor

Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Monday said that there is no ideological difference between veteran leader Mallikarjun Kharge and him, and that the party is together when it comes on to take on ruling-BJP.

In a tweet, he said, "Let me make clear that I agree with Mallikarjun kharge ji that all of us in INC wish to take on the BJP rather than each other. There is no ideological difference between us. The choice for our voting colleagues Oct17 is only on how to do it most effectively."

22:06 (IST)02 Oct 2022
ICYMI | Shashi Tharoor: ‘I don’t think everyone who voted BJP in 2014, 2019 is a diehard Hindutvawadi; we need to bring them back’

Set to file his nomination for the Congress presidential election hours from now, Shashi Tharoor talks about his reasons for contesting, his plans for the party, the role of the Gandhi family, the importance of the poll for the future of the Congress, and says he realises both his strengths and his weaknesses. Excerpts:

Ashok Gehlot has bowed out of the Congress president’s race.

I have always, always said that if you are going to be a candidate in a thing like this, you really have to be prepared to face whoever comes in the contest. So, to me, the identity of other candidates is not the issue. It’s a question of whether… I myself have something to put forward before the party voters, but as far as Gehlot and now Digvijaya Singh are concerned, these are both people who are friends, people who I have admired a great deal, people who I have had very, very good relations with. Manoj CG writes

21:55 (IST)02 Oct 2022
From the Opinion Editor: An election for the Congress party

Dear Reader,

On October 1, Saturday, Madhusudan Mistry, returning officer, named Mallikarjun Kharge and Shashi Tharoor as the two candidates in the fray for the election of Congress president on October 19. With that, the contest for leadership of India’s main party of the Opposition has been kicked off. After nearly two and a half decades, it will have a non-Gandhi at its helm.

Or will it, really? With Kharge widely seen as the unofficial official candidate — a bevy of establishmentarian leaders and many of the G-23 rebels, too, have come out in his support — has the Gandhi family genuinely stepped aside, or back? Or will it still control the Congress, and not do so too? Those, of course, are the questions. But Tharoor’s candidature may already be stirring things up. Vandita Misra writes

20:58 (IST)02 Oct 2022
Cong Prez polls: Deepender Hooda, Naseer Hussain, Gourav Vallabh resign as spokespersons to campaign for Kharge

Congress leaders Deepender Hooda, Syed Naseer Hussain and Gourav Vallabh have resigned as party spokespersons to campaign for AICC presidential poll candidate Mallikarjun Kharge. MPs Hooda and Hussain, along with Vallabh, participated in a press conference with Kharge who launched his campaign for the election on Sunday.

Vallabh said he along with Hooda and Hussain resigned as Congress spokespersons, and will campaign for Kharge in the AICC president polls. He said they had taken the step to ensure fairness in the polls for the party's top post. (PTI)

Congress MP Shashi Tharoor files his nomination papers for the post of party president, at AICC headquarters in New Delhi, September 30, 2022. (Express photo by Anil Sharma)

With Karnataka leader Mallikarjun Kharge’s election as president of the Congress considered a foregone conclusion, the state unit of the party is hoping for good tidings. Apart from enthusing the Congress worker base in Karnataka, party leaders feel this could provide the healing touch needed by the faction-rid state unit which is often in the news for the wrong reasons.

Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Monday said that there is no ideological difference between veteran leader Mallikarjun Kharge and him, and that the party is together when it comes on to fighting the ruling-BJP. In a tweet, he said, "Let me make clear that I agree with Mallikarjun kharge ji that all of us in INC wish to take on the BJP rather than each other. There is no ideological difference between us. The choice for our voting colleagues Oct17 is only on how to do it most effectively."

The Tharoor manifesto: Reimagining Congress high command’s role, real authority for PCC chiefs

Shashi Tharoor’s chances of being the next Congress president may have taken a hit after Mallikarjun Kharge entered the fray as the Gandhis’ unofficial choice but the MP from Thiruvananthapuram is going all out to do his bit to ensure he stands a chance to cause an upset.

After filing his nomination papers on Friday, Tharoor released a manifesto positioning himself as the Congress’s future. Using the tagline “Think tomorrow, think Tharoor”, he detailed 10 tenets for revitalising the party, among them decentralising the organisation by “giving real authority to the PCC (Pradesh Congress Committee) presidents” and reimagining the role of the All India Congress Committee (AICC) headquarters. Among the other internal changes that he has proposed are limiting party president and other office-bearer posts to two five-year terms and organising elections to 12 posts out of 23 in the Congress Working Committee (CWC).

Mallikarjun Kharge spent the day meeting leaders, including A K Antony who he called on at the Kerala House in Delhi. A day after all nominations were filed for the Congress president election, the stage was set for a straight contest between veteran Kharge and Tharoor after the nomination of former Jharkhand minister K N Tripathi was rejected. Madhusudan Mistry, the head of the Congress’s central election authority, announced that Tripathi’s form has been rejected — as some of the signatures didn’t match.

Senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge, who is also the nominee for the Congress president on Sunday said he told his fellow contender Shashi Tharoor that it would be better to have a consensus candidate, but the Lok Sabha MP insisted on a contest for the "sake of democracy". Launching his Congress presidential poll campaign with a press conference at his residence in Delhi, Kharge said there is no G-23 camp now and all those leaders want to fight unitedly against the RSS-BJP and therefore are supporting him.

In a tough electoral face-off with Congress veteran Mallikarjun Kharge for the AICC chief's post, Lok Sabha MP Shashi Tharoor on Sunday said he would be open to the idea of a public debate between the candidates as it would evoke people's interest in the party in a manner similar to the recent British Conservative Party leadership race. He also said the Nehru-Gandhi family has held and will always hold a special place in the hearts of Congress party members.

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First published on: 02-10-2022 at 09:14:32 am
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