Congress President’s Election: With the days coming nearer for the Presidential Elections, is healthy competition within the Party turning out to be unqualified bitterness?
Congress Presidential candidate Mallikarjun Kharge strongly resented being compared with Shashi Tharoor, his opponent in the upcoming elections.
With 17th October fast approaching, the covert acrimony between the two leaders is coming to the fore. When asked about Shashi Tharoor’s plan to ‘decentralize authority in the Congress Party,’ the veteran leader retorted that he should not be compared with anyone, without naming Tharoor.
Responding to Shashi Tharoor’s manifesto to ‘reform the way the Party functions,’ he was quick to express his hidden displeasure and said ‘ I have come on my own from Block President to this level. Was Shashi Tharoor there during that time?
Shashi Tharoor released a 10-point manifesto for the Congress Presidential polls which includes ‘Revive the Party’ ‘re-energize it’ ‘empower common workers’ ‘decentralise the authority and be ‘in touch with the common man. Tharoor believed that these ‘mantras’ will enable the political party to take on ‘Narendra Modi’ in the 2024 Lok Sabha Elections.
Mallikarjun Kharge on his part declared his 3 points ‘Mantras’ in line with the Udaipur declaration in May 2022 – ‘public insight ‘election management’ and ‘national training’ while flaying Shashi Tharoor he said ‘Tharoor is free to go ahead with his manifesto’. Those declarations were taken into consideration after consulting all senior leaders and experts, he added.
‘Official Candidate’ and ‘Underdog tag’
Meanwhile, during his election campaign in Chennai on 6th October, Shashi Tharoor said that he is aware of gossip of an ‘official candidate’ in some sections and his ‘underdog tag’ but added that the ‘Gandhi family’ is unbiased and there is no hidden whip to vote for so-called ‘official candidate’. He reiterated ‘I and Mallikarjun are friends’ and the only difference is our way of working. He however added that he wanted to act as an ‘ambassador for change.
The results would be declared on 19th Oct thus the end of the Sonia-Rahul era and a 1st non-Gandhi President after 2 decades
The upcoming historic election, although internal, would certainly create some hullabaloo as the new president would replace Sonia Gandhi, the longest-serving party president who has been at the helm since 1998, barring the two years between 2017 and 2019 when Rahul Gandhi took over.
With the change of guards – Mallikarjun or Tharoor – more importantly, the new Congress President, whether he would be able to carve a niche and pose a serious challenge to Narendra Modi and his BJP in the 2024 General Elections is the moot question to be answered.