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Have Neither Ruled Myself In Nor Out: Shashi Tharoor On Contesting For Congress President Post

Currently, Sonia Gandhi is serving as the grand old party's interim chief, but the Congress Working Committee, the party's highest decision-making body, has announced that the new president would be elected by October 17. Earlier, this process was supposed to be completed by September 20.

Have Neither Ruled Myself In Nor Out: Shashi Tharoor On Contesting For Congress President Post
Congress Lok Sabha MP Shashi Tharoor at Parliament. (Photo: ANI)

Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Tuesday said that he has neither ruled himself in nor out of the election to the Congress president's post, which is slated to be held next month. The Congress MP's remark comes after he in an article for a Malayalam newspaper stated that "free and fair" elections are needed in the party to resolve all differences.

"I hope many will contest in order to give the membership a wide choice. So far I have neither ruled myself in nor ruled myself out," he told news agency PTI in an interview. "I have only welcomed the fact that an election will be held. I believe that is very good for the party."

The former Union minister also took a veiled dig at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for criticising Congress over dynastic politics and asked which other political party has had an open election for its top post among such a large electorate of almost 10,000 voters.

"Of course it is gratifying that this general statement of democratic principle has immediately led to large numbers of people around the country welcoming the prospect of my contesting. But as I have made it clear, I have not declared my candidacy," Tharoor told PTI.

Currently, Sonia Gandhi is serving as the grand old party's interim chief, but the Congress Working Committee (CWC), the party's highest decision-making body, has announced that the new president would be elected by October 17. Earlier, this process was supposed to be completed by September 20.

Meanwhile, Tharoor also spoke about Congress' 'Bharat Jodo Yatra', which he said could achieve both "Bharat jodo" and "Congress jodo". He said the yatra could unite Congressmen and women across the country around the party's values and ideals as well as service to the people.

"We have lost a few skirmishes but in many ways it is an existential struggle we are engaged in, to defend the idea of India enshrined in the Constitution. As long as we survive, there will be many other seemingly decisive phases," he said. "But whatever happens, we should never surrender to majoritarianism."

He told PTI that the Yatra will have a "major impact", expressing hopes that it will be the beginning of Congress' "revival". "But while our planning and preparations have been thorough, it is fair to say that we cannot underestimate the ruling forces," he said.

"While we are working with everyone, including other parties, non-political individuals and civil society groups, any such major activity undertaken by a political party undoubtedly has a political message. And that message is that we are the party that can unite India," he said.

The 3,570-km yatra, which has a tagline of the yatra is 'Mile Kadam, Jude Watan', will begin from Kanyakumari on September 8. It will pass through Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi, Nilambur, Mysuru, Bellary, Raichur, Vikarabad, Nanded, Jalgaon, Indore, Kota, Dausa, Alwar, Bulandshahr, Delhi, Ambala, Pathankot, Jammu, and culminate in Srinagar.

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