Tharoor may contest for Congress top post

Things are likely to become clearer in the coming days as Rahul Gandhi’s ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’, will kick off from Kanyakumari on September 7 and reach the Kerala border on September 11, reports Sanu V. George

There is never a dull moment when Thiruvananthapuram Congress Lok Sabha MP Shashi Tharoor speaks or writes and it was no different this time when he aired his opinion in a vernacular daily on the need for a contest to the top party post.

As soon as the article became public, it gave rise to speculation that he might throw his hat in the ring to contest for the top post, but on Tuesday he clarified to the media saying: “I never said that I will contest, the rest can be discussed later,” said Tharoor before driving away.

Meanwhile, one will have to wait a bit to know if Tharoor is actually in the contest as the last date for filing of the nomination to the top post is September 30, according to the notification that has been brought out by AICC general secretary (organisation) K.C.Venugopal.

Things are likely to become clearer in the coming days as Rahul Gandhi’s ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’, will kick off from Kanyakumari on September 7 and reach the Kerala border on September 11. It will cover 43 Assembly constituencies and 12 Lok Sabha and will cover 453 kms in 19 days.

A political analyst on condition of anonymity pointed out Tharoor ever since he contested the Lok sabha election in 2009, he has never been a person who has been liked by a huge section of the front line Congress leaders here.

“And this is seen every time he comes to contest the polls, which he won in 2014 and in 2019. The reason why he wins each time is because of his personality and is able to get a sizable vote from the political voters, the youth and also the women voters. The only time women voters left him was at the 2014 Lok Sabha polls as it was held a few months after his wife Sunanda Pushkar died, when his margin of victory fell down from close to a lakh of votes to around 15,000, but Ain 2019, he again won with a margin of over 90,000 votes,” said the analyst.

But the analyst points out that at the moment, even though the Congress party in Kerala continues to be headed by faction leaders, there have been no open defiance against the Gandhi family, even though veterans like P.J.Kurien and now estranged K.V.Thomas have expressed some reservation.

“That should be a bother for Tharoor, as veterans like A.K.Antony, Oommen Chandy, Ramesh Chennithala and leaders like K.Sudhakaran (State party president) and Leader of Opposition V.D.Satheesan are most unlikely to go against the Gandhi family. If at all Tharoor decides to contest, he will have to take on the candidate who will have the full blessings of the Gandhis and hence it’s anyone’s guess that for Tharoor to get votes from his home state party colleagues will be really tough than getting votes from his constituency voters,” added the analyst.

So one will have to wait a while to know if Tharoor is actually going to contest or if this was just his routine tongue-in-cheek remarks, which has seen his stock rising.

‘G-23 only figment of imagination’

Senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh on Tuesday said that the G-23 is only a figment of imagination and “there is only G-Congress”.

Ramesh, who, along with his senior party colleague Digvijaya Singh arrived here to finalise the upcoming Bharat Jodo Yatra, to be led by Rahul Gandhi and set to kick off from Tamil Nadu’s Kaniyakumari on September 7, was interacting with the media here.

Preferring to sidestep questions related to the resignation of veteran Ghulam Nabi Azad, he said the yatra will go on and resignations, elections, and such things will all happen.

“Those men and women who have left the Congress after the yatra was announced are engaged in match-fixing with the BJP. Personal ambitions might also be there. Our organisational elections to elect our party President also will be held when the yatra is on,” said Ramesh.

“Our party election schedule has now been announced and anyone can contest. Remember we are the only party where our President is elected… which other party has this. This has got nothing to do with the yatra as this yatra is done to expose the economic, social and political ideology of the BJP.

“Those who predict the demise of the Congress will be surprised to see that this yatra will be the ‘sanjeevani’ of our party,” he added.

On the departure of Azad, Singh said he never left the party on any ideological ground.

“People have been in the Rajya Sabha for 30 years and then leave and it’s not based on any ideological ground, but splinter personal issues. The fight is not based on ideology and has he ever spoken against (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi or the RSS? Our fight is against the divisive politics being practised in the country and the economic policies. 99 per cent of the people in the country have lost their incomes, while one percent have doubled theirs,” he said.

The Bharat Jodo Yatra, will reach the Kerala border on September 11 and will cover 43 Assembly constituencies and 12 Lok Sabha constituencies in its 453-km, 19 day journey through the state.

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