India’s grand old party Congress which has not seen a non-Gandhi president since 1998, is set for a transformation and change. The upcoming presidential polls will see a contest between Ashok Gehlot and Shashi Tharoor at a time when Congress is facing a severe existential crisis and internal rebellion.
The party will officially notify about the election on the 22nd of this month. A meeting between Shashi Tharoor and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi was held on Monday where Mr. Tharoor made it clear that he was all set to contest the polls by endorsing an online petition that asked potential candidates to usher in organizational reforms and implement the decisions taken at the Udaipur Conclave.
Sonia Gandhi has assured Mr. Tharoor that the Gandhi family will remain neutral vis a vis the upcoming elections. Ms. Gandhi told Tharoor that competition for the party president’s post is a good thing that can pay rich dividends.
“Anybody who wants to contest is free and welcome to do so. This has been the consistent position of the Congress president and Rahul Gandhi. This is an open, democratic and transparent process. Nobody needs anybody’s nod to contest,” Congress’ communication head Jairam Ramesh told The Hindu in response to reports that Mr. Tharoor had sought a go-ahead from Ms. Gandhi.
Sources say Rahul Gandhi has completely ruled himself out of the race despite multiple Pradesh Congress Committees asking him to take back the reins as the next party chief and lead them for the 2024 elections. Interestingly, local Congress leaders from Kerala a state which Tharoor represents in the parliament are unhappy with this move of his. Local Kerala Congress leaders want Rahul Gandhi to take the top post.