On Shashi Tharoor-Sonia Gandhi meet, Jairam Ramesh responds: ‘Nobody needs…’

Updated on Sep 19, 2022 11:29 PM IST

Amid speculation that Shashi Tharoor may fight the Congress presidential polls, the Thiruvananthapuram MP met interim chief Sonia Gandhi earlier in the day, barely weeks after he expressed concerns about “transparency and fairness” in the upcoming election.

Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi and MP Shashi Tharoor.(File)
Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi and MP Shashi Tharoor.(File)
By | Edited by Aniruddha Dhar, New Delhi

Congress general secretary in-charge of communication Jairam Ramesh on Monday said nobody needs anybody's nod to contest amid reports that party MP Shashi Tharoor received the approval from Sonia Gandhi to contest in the upcoming poll for the party president's post.

“Anybody who wants to contest is free and welcome to do so. This has been the consistent position of the Congress president and Rahul Gandhi. This is an open, democratic and transparent process. Nobody needs anybody's nod to contest,” Ramesh told HT.

Amid speculation that Tharoor may fight the Congress presidential polls, the Thiruvananthapuram MP met interim chief Sonia Gandhi earlier in the day, barely weeks after he expressed concerns about “transparency and fairness” in the upcoming election.

Sonia Gandhi assured that the upcoming election to the party chief’s post will be held in “fair and transparent” manner and anyone who wants to contest may file a nomination.

The feedback by Gandhi on Tharoor's desire to contest is being seen by many as an encouragement to him to contest and he could announce his candidature in the next few days.

Although there is no confirmation, Tharoor hasn’t ruled out the possibility of standing for the post of party president. HT reached out to the MP but didn’t get a response immediately.

The Congress previously said that elections to the post will be held between August 21 and September 20. Any Congress member willing to contest for the party president’s post will require the support of at least 10 delegates.

Tharoor, who was among the group of 23 leaders who had written to Gandhi in 2020 demanding organisational overhaul, also endorsed a petition on Monday by a group of young party members seeking "constructive reforms".

The petition shared by Tharoor on Twitter sought reforms and a pledge by AICC president candidates to implement the Udaipur Declaration in entirety if elected. The former Union minister said it had been signed by over 650 people so far.

"I welcome this petition that is being circulated by a group of young @INCIndia members, seeking constructive reforms in the Party. It has gathered over 650 signatures so far. I am happy to endorse it & to go beyond it," Tharoor tweeted with screenshots of the petition.

Is Ashok Gehlot also in the race?

Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot is being considered as a candidate for the top post favoured by the present dispensation, some reports suggest. Gehlot, however, denied that he is a candidate and has been saying that he will try and convince Rahul Gandhi to contest.

Chorus grows for Rahul Gandhi

Meanwhile, the 'Make Rahul Gandhi AICC president again' chorus is growing louder in the Congress with over half a dozen state units so far seeking his elevation to the top post, even as uncertainty and suspense persisted over whether he would take on the mantle.

After Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Gujarat units of the Congress demanded that Gandhi be made party chief, the party's Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Bihar, Jammu and Kashmir and Mumbai units passed resolutions calling for his elevation to the post of president on Monday.

The process for filing nominations for the election will be held from September 24 to 30. The last date for withdrawal of nominations is October 8 and the election, if required, will be held on October 17. The results will be out on October 19.

(With inputs from agencies)

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