The Grand old party may have a non-Gandhi president for the first time in over 20 years. Ashok Gehlot, Chief Minister of Rajasthan, will likely run for party president opposite Shashi Tharoor, who is among those in Congress who want major reforms.
Who should be the party President?
Shashi Tharoor is gearing up to fight for the Congress president post after party chief Sonia Gandhi welcomed “a contest” during a meeting with him, setting the stage for a high voltage political battle in which Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot is assumed to be his considerable opponent.
Tharoor’s meeting with Sonia came even as more Congress state units passed resolutions demanding Rahul to take over as president once again. However, sources said Sonia told Tharoor that she — in other words, the family — would “stay neutral” in the coming presidential elections.
“Anyone is free to contest the Congress presidential poll. It’s your call. Elections will be held according to the electoral process,” Sonia Gandhi told Shashi Tharoor, sources in the Congress told India Today TV.
Interestingly, hours before his meeting with the party chief, Tharoor supported an online petition by a group of young Congress members seeking reforms and a pledge by presidential candidates to execute the Udaipur Declaration in its entirety, if elected.
Sharing the petition, which was signed by over 650 people so far, on Twitter, Tharoor said, “I welcome this petition that is being circulated by a group of young Congress members, seeking constructive reforms in the Party. It has gathered over 650 signatures so far. I am happy to endorse it & to go beyond it.”
I welcome this petition that is being circulated by a group of young @INCIndia members, seeking constructive reforms in the Party. It has gathered over 650 signatures so far. I am happy to endorse it & to go beyond it. https://t.co/2yPViCDv0v pic.twitter.com/waGb2kdbTu
— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) September 19, 2022
Contest after 22 years
Quoting the party’s interim chief, Jairam Ramesh said, “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.”
Meanwhile, sources close to Rajasthan Chief Minister, said that Ashok Gehlot is still hoping that former party president Rahul Gandhi will change his mind and contest the party president contest. In the event of Rahul remaining firm on his decision, the party could witness a contest for the top post after 22 years.
Sonia had earlier urged Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot to lead the party but he appears to be hesitant as he wants to retain control of the state and does not want to leave space for his competitor Sachin Pilot.