Shashi Tharoor talks about Rahul Gandhi; says why he had signed G-23 letter

As the Congress is staring at a crisis brewing in Uttarakhand, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor said G23 was not intended to be what it has become today.
Tharoor said he had signed the letter as there was nothing exceptional and people who were promoting it were very senior figures.(ANI)
Tharoor said he had signed the letter as there was nothing exceptional and people who were promoting it were very senior figures.(ANI)
Published on Dec 23, 2021 12:23 PM IST
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By | Written by Poulomi Ghosh

Congress leader Shashi Tharoor said G-23, a group of 23 'rebel' Congress leaders who demanded more democracy in the party, was a media creation as 23 people happened to have signed the letter addressed to Sonia Gandhi. There could have been more people but only 23 could be reached as there was a lockdown at that time, Tharoor said. "I signed it because there was nothing exceptional... The letter says Congress should democratise itself more, we should revive the parliamentary board of the party, we should have elections to the elected seats of the working committee which are currently filled by nomination, we should revive the party at the grassroots," Tharoor said at the launch event of his latest book. Tharoor's claim comes at a time the party is staring at another crisis brewing in Uttarakhand as Harish Rawat expressed his helplessness in the party.

Tharoor also claimed that all 23 leaders never met. "I did not think signing that, especially since people who were promoting it were very senior figures of the Congress party establishment, would cause as much offence as it turned out to cause. Indeed, it was seen as 23 people in rebellion and I do not think it was intended that way but has been seen that way."

Focus on G23 leaders ahead of Congress organisational polls

In August 2020, a group of 23 senior Congress leaders wrote a letter to Sonia Gandhi seeking an overhaul within the party. The 23 leaders include Ghulam Nabi Azad, Kapil Sibal, Shashi Tharoor, Manish Tewari, Anand Sharma, PJ Kurien, Renuka Chaudhary, Milind Deora, Mukul Vasnik, Jitin Prasad (now in BJP), Bhipender Singh Hooda, Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Veerappa Moily, Prithviraj Chauhan, Ajay Singh, Raj Babbar, Arvind Singh Lovely, Kaul Singh Thakur, Kuldeep Sharma, Yoganand Shastri, Sandeep Dixit, Vivek Thankha.

'That is where we are now': Tharoor on Congress election

On the issue of Congress getting an elected president, Tharoor said people who are there by bloodline can also get elected. "In fact, there is very little doubt that Rahul Gandhi, if he were willing to contest, would get elected against anybody else in the Congress because the electorate of party workers has a certain sense of allegiance to the Gandhi-Nehru family for decades now which is not going to be easily overcome," Tharoor said.

"In Rahul's case, in all fairness, he stepped aside, he even made a statement that 'it should not be me or anyone from my family', but the working committee went for Mrs (Sonia) Gandhi and pulled her out of retirement and said please lead us. So that is where we are now," he said.

"I would say that this is a phenomenon across all parties. In SP, was there any question that after Mulayam ji, it would be Akhilesh; in DMK, was there any question that after Karunanidhi, it is Stalin; in Shiv Sena after Balasahab Thackrey, it is Uddhav," Tharoor said.

'Told party we should not disrupt Parliament'

Tharoor said he believes that the opposition parties should not disrupt the parliamentary proceeding but should use it as a platform for debate. Going in for disruptions, the opposition has become marginalised and it is complicit in its own marginalisation, Tharoor said as the Winter Session of Parliament ended on Wednesday.

"To some degree, we are complicit in our own marginalisation, by going in for disruptions, we no longer have a choice to voice our positions for the nation to understand. But I recognise that mine is a minority view. I have not hidden my view and the party is very aware of my view that we should not disrupt, that we should use Parliament as a platform for debate, and do our rallies, dharnas and agitations elsewhere and on the streets," the Thiruvananthapuram MP said.

(With PTI inputs)

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