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Saturday, June 22, 2024

Gehlot vs Tharoor on the cards?

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Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi has given her consent to Thiruvananthapuram Congress MP Shashi Tharoor to contest the party’s presidential election, and Congress leaders claim there couldn’t be a bigger endorsement of inner-party democracy. Shashi Tharoor himself says the more the contestants, the merrier the contest—let the games begin! People are laughing. Why does Tharoor want Sonia Gandhi’s permission to contest? The people who are laughing are of the BJP IT Cell. Shashi Tharoor is one of the G-23, the select group of 23 Congress leaders who had written to Sonia Gandhi seeking “sweeping reforms”, including elections for party posts. Does that make Shashi Tharoor a suspect? Somehow it doesn’t appear so. Tharoor comes out as valued to both groups – “loyalists”, as well as “establishment”. And with Sonia’s “consent” in his pocket, Shashi Tharoor will contest the presidential election, notification for which will be issued on September 22. Tharoor will challenge Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot, Sonia Gandhi’s original choice; and, perhaps, still the first preference. But Gehlot continues to be adamant “Rahul Gandhi or nobody else”. Sonia Gandhi had left India with the question unresolved even as Tharoor had made sure that the Congress president’s election remained on the cards.

While more than one contestant could surface, the main contest will be between Ashok Gehlot and Shashi Tharoor. Reports say there’s a new spring in Tharoor’s steps after Sonia gave her consent though Ashok Gehlot is perceived as the “establishment candidate”, and the runaway victor if Rahul Gandhi continues to decline the party chief’s post. That said, it could still be “Rahul Gandhi for president” all the way, and Shashi Tharoor the feint to keep dissent bottled up and guessing to the extent possible. The belief is Tharoor doesn’t fit the mold of the Kapil Sibal-Anand Sharma-Ghulam Nabi Azad crowd. Sibal and Azad had cut loose and gone, though they might still have pockets of influence in the party. A spate of Congress resignations one after the other hadn’t helped. The question being asked now is will Tharoor’s candidature “shake up” the behemoth? The talk going around is that Sonia Gandhi told Tharoor she’s all for “free and fair” elections. But many feel otherwise. Sonia may talk about this in public but she will back a Gandhi family loyalist from behind.

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The former UN diplomat is keen to contest and “make internal democracy” his plank, something which Ashok Gehlot wouldn’t think of in his wildest dream. Shashi Tharoor and Ashok Gehlot are from two vastly different planets. The Malayalis may be all for the Gandhi family, but Sonia Gandhi at least would rather trust Ashok Gehlot than bank on the loyalty of the Malayali Tharoor. The Congress could do with Shashi Tharoor at the helm. This man isn’t the sycophant like so many others in Congress; he wants to be his man rather than somebody else’s coolie. He wants the party’s central election authority to publish the party’s electoral list on the All India Congress Committee website for “free and fair” elections. The Congress central election authority has refused point-blank, and that tells a story. In any case, it is an interesting time for the Congress Party.

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The Hills Timeshttps://www.thehillstimes.in/
Welcome to The Hills Times, your trusted source for daily news and updates in English from the heart of Assam, India. Since our establishment in 2000, we've been dedicated to providing timely and accurate information to our readers in Diphu and Guwahati. As the first English newspaper in the then undemarcated Karbi Anglong district, we've forged a strong connection with diverse communities and age groups, earning a reputation for being a reliable source of news and insights. In addition to our print edition, we keep pace with the digital age through our website, https://thehillstimes.in, where we diligently update our readers with the latest happenings day by day. Whether it's local events, regional developments, or global news, The Hills Times strives to keep you informed with dedication and integrity. Join us in staying ahead of the curve and exploring the world through our lens.
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