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‘PCC chiefs not WELCOMING my candidacy’: Shashi Tharoor on ‘uneven playing field’ remark

Congress presidential election: Congress' Thiruvananthapuram MP Shashi Tharoor has said that his campaign for the party president's post is not getting a good response as compared to the treatment being given to party veteran Mallikarjun Kharge.

‘PCC chiefs not WELCOMING my candidacy’: Shashi Tharoor on ‘uneven playing field’ remark

Chennai: Congress presidential candidate and Kerala MP Shashi Tharoor on Thursday said that while there is no ''spirit of enmity'' in his party, his campaign for the party president's post is getting a good response as compared to the treatment being given to party veteran Mallikarjun Kharge. Tharoor lamented that he was not getting an encouraging response from the Congress state party leaders to his candidacy. The Thiruvananthapuram MP said that though he was not complaining, he expected a better response from the Congress office bearers to his ongoing campaign for the party president’s post.

When quizzed about his "uneven playing field" remark, Tharoor said, "...In several PCCs, leaders welcomed and met Mallikarjun Kharge Saheb. But it wasn't done for me. I visited PCCs but PCC chiefs weren't available. I am not complaining, but do you not see a difference in treatment?"

 

 

“We are contesting the elections, there is no spirit of enmity in our party. Kharge Sahab is my senior leader and I have worked closely with him. The election is about two colleagues seeing how to work to strengthen the party,” Tharoor said while interacting with media persons.

Tharoor urged his party members to vote for him only if they want the party to go with change and asked them if they are satisfied with the situation. “If you think everything is fine, don't vote for me as I want such a change in the party that would bring back voters who didn't remain with us in 2014 & 2019,” Tharoor said.

Tharoor on Wednesday said that he strongly believes that internal elections within the party make the party strong and that a strong Congress will make the country strong.

While campaigning in Ahmedabad, Tharoor, after addressing party delegates, urged them to vote for him. He also interacted with media persons during which he said the party needs to be strengthened at the block level. He said that he hopes that Congress becomes the party of young India.

He said that he aims to bring those voters, who had deserted the party in 2014, back to the Congress fold in 2024. He also said that he wished that women get more weightage in the party.

Tharoor said he has no difference with his rival Mallikarjun Kharge, and once the elections are over and results are out, he will work with Kharge without any hesitation. Whoever wins the elections, will be the victory of Congress, he added.

It may be noted that Kharge is reportedly receiving huge support from the Congress office-bearers during his visit to different PCCs while campaigning for the Congress president’s post.

Amid intense speculations about receiving enormous support from the Gandhi family, Kharge recently clarified that Sonia Gandhi was not suggesting his name to Congress office bearers as she has decided to stay neutral in the party presidential poll.

Meanwhile, the Congress` Central Election Authority (CEA) has barred the party general secretaries and other office-bearers from voting in their assigned states in the party`s presidential poll, and can instead vote in their home states.

In a circular, Madhusudan Mistry, the CEA chairman, said, "As you are well aware that the polling for the election of the Congress President is scheduled to be held on Monday, 17th October 2022 at all PCC Headquarters from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

"In order to remain impartial and maintain transparency in the election process, the Central Election Authority has decided that no AICC General Secretaries/ State In-charges, Secretaries and Jt. Secretaries would be allowed to cast their vote in their assigned states."

Therefore, they have been requested to cast their vote either in the home state or at AICC Office, as per their choice, said the order. Allaying fears of being identified, the Congress Central Election Authority (CEA) Chairman on Wednesday assured the voters of the secrecy of the ballot in the October 17 party presidential poll.

While issuing standard protocol for the voting till the counting of the votes, Madhusudan Mistry said that there was no numbering on the papers and only counterfoil with detail will be kept with the election authority while ballot boxes will be sealed and unsealed in front of the election agents. Ahead of the counting of votes, all the ballot papers will be mixed so that no one would know how many votes the candidate got from a particular state.

He said that they have received a complaint that has been addressed by the CEA. In the fray for the top post are Shashi Tharoor and Mallikarjun Kharge. Sixty-seven booths have been set up in all the states, the party`s CEA has said.

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