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Congress president election: Congress MP Shashi Tharoor files nomination papers at AICC office

Congress President election: Senior Congress leader and MP Shashi said he was happy to accept their assurances and remains convinced of the commitment of the party towards ensuring that these elections take place in a free and fair manner. 

  • Shashi Tharoor on Friday filed his nomination for the post of Congress President at the AICC office
  • He submitted his papers to the party's central election authority chairman Madhusudan Mistry at AICC headquarters
  • Senior Congress leader made an entry at the party office amid the sound of drumbeats and fanfare

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Congress president election: Congress MP Shashi Tharoor files nomination papers at AICC office

New Delhi: Senior Congress leader and MP Shashi Tharoor on Friday filed his nomination for the post of Congress President at the AICC office. The Thiruvananthapuram MP submitted his papers to the party's central election authority chairman Madhusudan Mistry at his office here at the AICC headquarters. Amid the sound of drumbeats and fanfare, Shashi Tharoor made an entry at the party office. Earlier in the morning, he visited Rajghat to pay homage to Mahatma Gandhi ahead of filing his nomination papers for the party's presidential poll.

Tharoor also quoted former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi as saying, "India is an Old country but a young nation... I dream of India Strong, Independent, Self-Reliant and in the front rank of the nations of the world, in the service of mankind."

After filing his nomination papers, Shashi Tharoor told PTI that it is apparent that not everything about the electoral process has been ideal, but added that there is no point seeking perfection now as if one wants to play the match, one has to "bat on the available pitch".

Tharoor said he believes that a fresh leader, who has not been "jaded by being entrenched within the current system for too long", could energise the party and also appeal to more voters than the Congress managed to during the last few elections. 

Also read: Kharge to contest Cong president poll, Digvijaya decides to withdraw from race

The 66-year-old leader also said he hopes that the Gandhi family will recognise that they are and remain the foundational pillar of the Congress, "our moral conscience and ultimate guiding spirit". He further added that they cannot and must not withdraw from that role, whatever the formal designations they choose to retain.

"To my mind, though the party presidential election is an internal exercise, it also represents an opportunity to ignite widespread public interest in the Congress and to galvanise its party workers," he said.

He said that when, following the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Rahul Gandhi offered to resign as the party president to take accountability for the stinging defeat, he was one of the many who tried to talk him out of it.

"At the end of the day, he stuck to his decision and we must respect that. That said, the longer the Congress waits to get its act together, the greater the risk of a steady erosion of our traditional vote bank and their gravitation towards our political competitors," the former Union minister said.

"Which is why I have long been an outspoken advocate for free and transparent elections within the party, including for the post of President -- because a leader elected by the party workers will have a great advantage in addressing organisational challenges, as well as the process of rebuilding that is required to internally strengthen the rank and file of the party," Tharoor said.

Tharoor called for re-imagining the organisational culture in the party to decentralise authority and truly empower the grassroots office-bearers of the party.
He argued that delegating powers to state leaders and empowering grassroots workers will not only free the new leader from the onerous burdens of over-administration but also help create the strong state leadership that in past eras strengthened the Congress' national appeal.

Asked about the concerns raised by him and some other MPs over the fairness and transparency of polls, Tharoor said they had raised certain practical and process-related queries regarding the upcoming elections before the chairperson of the party's Central Election Authority.

He said the queries have since been addressed by Madhusudan Mistry and he appreciates the constructive manner in which the party's poll panel chief reached out personally to discuss these issues at length, adding "It is apparent that not everything about the process has been ideal, but don't forget we have not had a contested election in two decades. There is no point seeking perfection now: if you want to play the match, you have to bat on the available pitch". 

Throor said he was happy to accept their assurances and remains convinced of the commitment of the party towards ensuring that these elections take place in a free and fair manner. Notably, polling will take place on October 17 and the result will be announced on October 19.

(With PTI Inputs)

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