Amid speculation about Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot and former Union Minister Shashi Tharoor running for Congress president, party general secretary Tariq Anwar stated that the Congress is a democratic party and that everyone is free to run for office.
In the midst of speculation about Rajasthan Chief minister Ashok Gehlot and former Union minister Shashi Tharoor running for Congress president, party general secretary Tariq Anwar stated that the Congress is a democratic party and that everyone is free to run for office.
While Gehlot will bring the rustic charm to his age-old approach to politics, Tharoor represents the suave and modern charisma that has a pull of its own.
Speaking to The New Indian at the party headquarters, Anwar, who is also the in-charge of Kerala, said: “Congress has a tradition of holding elections. And if there is no consensus, then elections are held.”
Commenting on Tharoor’s likely to throw his hat into the ring, the Congress leader said, “Be it, Tharoor or anyone, no one has stopped them from contesting elections. And as per the Congress constitution, he (Tharoor) knows that he can contest elections. ”
The Congress leader asserted that once the nomination process gets over and the withdrawal of nomination time is over “then we will come to know how many people are in the contest if there is no consensus on the top post”.
Congress will witness the first elections for the top post in nearly 23 years. Sonia Gandhi, who has been the interim party chief for the last three years, had been the party chief for a total of 18 years, from 2000 to 2017.
Her son, Rahul Gandhi, was elevated to the top post in 2017. However, he quit the top post in 2019 following his drubbing in the Lok Sabha elections.
When asked about Tharoor’s meeting with Sonia Gandhi and getting her nod to contest in the party president polls, Anwar said, “Sonia Gandhi is the party president. And if anyone goes to her, she will not say no to anyone to contest the elections. And as a Congress leader, anyone can contest in the elections, as it is their right.”
On another question, if Rahul Gandhi should lead the party again, as there are demands from several party units, Anwar said, “People are trying regularly to persuade him that he should lead the party. Many state units have passed resolutions that Rahul Gandhi, looking at the present political situation and the way he is leading the Bharat Jodo Yatra, should lead the party.”
Speaking about the questioning of Karnataka Congress chief DK Shivakumar by the Enforcement Directorate, Anwar said, “This is a tactic to divert attention from the Bharat Jodo Yatra.”
Citing examples, he said, “As the things have unfolded in Goa and then former Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh was made to join the BJP, this is just a tactic to divert people from the real issues.”
The Congress Working Committee, the highest decision-making body of the Congress, last month approved the new schedule of the elections for the party president.
As per the new schedule, the date of notification is September 22, and the candidates can file their nominations between September 24 and 30. The last date of withdrawal will be October 8.
The date of the election (if needed) is October 17 (Monday) from 10 am to 4 pm. The date of counting and declaration of results (if needed) is October 19.