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."
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.