File photo of Congress MP Shashi Tharoor | PTI
File photo of Congress MP Shashi Tharoor | PTI
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New Delhi: Asserting that “lack of clarity” over leadership following Rahul Gandhi’s resignation is hurting the Congress, senior leader Shashi Tharoor on Sunday said the way forward for the party could be opening up all key posts, including the CWC membership, to fresh elections which would help legitimise the incoming set of leaders.

He also backed Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh’s assessment that a young leader would be more suitable to lead the Congress at this juncture.

Tharoor said he hopes that party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra will throw her hat in the ring when the call for elections for the party chief’s post is made, but added it was up to the Gandhi family to decide on whether she will contest for the post.

In an interview to PTI, Tharoor expressed disappointment with the prevailing situation in the party and asserted that there is no clear answer to the current “predicament that we in the Congress are facing”.

“It is certainly quite true that the lack of clarity at the top of the party is likely to be hurting the Congress workers and sympathisers, many of whom miss the fact of having a party leader to look to for key decisions, authority and even inspiration and energy, to rally together and move forward,” the Thiruvananthapuram MP said.

Tharoor said he hoped that the Congress Working Committee (CWC) is taking the current situation “very seriously” and is doing its best to find a solution without further delay.

“One way forward could be for the CWC to name an interim working president for the party and then ideally dissolve itself, following which the main leadership positions within the party, including the CWC itself, should be opened up to fresh elections,” the former Union minister said.

“By allowing members of the party, drawn from the AICC and PCC delegates, to determine who will lead the party from these key positions, it would help legitimise the incoming set of leaders and give them a credible mandate to lead the party,” he said.

Also read:Deadlock over Rahul Gandhi’s resignation starts old guard vs young turk tussle

Tharoor also suggested that the Congress can go for a high-octane British Conservative Party-style leadership race for presidency that could increase the national interest in the party and galvanise more voters towards it once again.

Agreeing with Amarinder Singh’s statement earlier this month that a young leader would be more suitable to lead, Tharoor said that given the current state of the party and the national picture, whoever assumes the mantle of president will need to achieve the twin goals of energising the workers and inspiring the voters in favour of the Congress.

“If the new president is purely an organisational person, while he or she may be able to galvanise the workers and strengthen the foundations of the party, they may be unable to bring in the support of more voters,” he said.

If the president is a charismatic figure but has poor organisational skills, while he or she may be personally appealing to the national electorate, they are unlikely to find a fully supportive party machinery to help translate their charisma and natural appeal into electoral results, Tharoor argued.

“In these circumstances, one would definitely like to believe that a younger leader, who has not been jaded by playing these roles for too long, would be in a better position to do both,” he asserted.

Asked if he thinks Priyanka Gandhi was best suited to lead the party, Tharoor said he hopes she will contest for party presidency.

She has a “natural charisma” which has often prompted many to make comparisons with her grandmother and former party president, the late Indira Gandhi, which could certainly galvanise and rally party workers and voters alike, he said.

Priyanka Gandhi also comes with able organisational experience having been an influential figure at the core of the party for a while now and on the ground in Uttar Pradesh during the last elections, he said.

“But at the same time…Rahul Gandhi’s statement that no member from the Gandhi family should replace him, seems to rule this option out. It is really for the Gandhi family to decide where they collectively stand on this issue,” he said.

Either way, an election process would be a healthy way to go about it and legitimise the mandate being offered to the incoming president, Tharoor said.

On whether he would be interested in taking up the party presidency and contest for it, the 63-year-old leader said: “I’ll be honest and point out that I don’t think this is even a remotely possible scenario to speculate on.”

He said that from the organisational perspective he was relatively newer figure within the Congress, having been with the party for the little over a decade.

There are many others who have been with the party for much longer, he said.

“I have also never held a senior organisational role like that of a General Secretary and the organisation that I do head within the party, the All India Professionals’ Congress, while catering to an important and influential section of society, is relatively smaller just in terms of numbers,” he said.

“At the same time, as a party member, I am proud of my role articulating the party’s values, principles and policies outside and inside Parliament, and I remain invested in the process of revival and resurgence that party will have to embark on. I will always do whatever the party requires from me to support and aid this endeavour,” he said.

Rahul Gandhi announced his resignation as Congress president on May 25. However, the CWC has not accepted the resignation yet.

Also read:Rahul Gandhi’s resignation can kill Congress, make India a one-party country


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5 Comments Share Your Views


  1. 1. One can understand if Congress MP feels concerned about delay in decision as regards election of Congress President. 2. Who can save the Congress party at this juncture? Neither Ms Sonia Gandhi nor son Rahul Gandhi, though many may have unbreakable faith in members of Nehru-Indira Gandhi family. Then the next question is this: who can rebuild the Congress party which is in pathetic situation today? If someone wishes to revive Congress party and rebuild it, he/she must find out why it has been reduced to status of a regional party. 3. Citizen-voters like me who believe that the Congress party has a future as a centrist (to be precise, left of the centre) political party, wish that senior Congress leaders should make viable plans to reorganize the party. 4. I feel that as and when new Congress Working Committee (CWC) is formed, Smt Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Ms Priyanka Gandhi-Vadra should ideally be not part of CWC. This would be better future of the Congress party and also for ensuring internal democracy in the party. 5. My unsolicited suggestion is that the Congress would do well if it gets done a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis of the organization and take remedial steps to move out their party from the current pathetic situation.

  2. It is being stretched too much and too far to let the party suffer. There appears to have no mechanism to deal with the situation where the president resigns. The party does not look to be taking care of itself and just allows itself to be drifting further.
    The party cadre, sympathisers and also the electorates at large need to be aware of the developments taking place to take up the leadership issue. But unfortunately for all, nothing is visible. Some statements come and go, some hopes arise and just die down ….nothing consistent is happening.
    Even on the floor of Parliament the party does not appear to be alive to issues and no honest floor management is seen. Some cohesiveness was visible on Karnataka issue but this too was not that effective.
    That a party so rich in experience, be it politik or administration, should be seen lacking any sharpness in its manner is somewhat strange ….. rather painful. Congress has come through so many milestones – good as well as bad – so nothing should have been that unusual for the party. Given the situation, efforts of taking on board ‘the family’ too must be going on but it must end as early as possible. The family may also be given some brief break at least to ponder over remaining aloof and observing it from beyond the Chair. Sonia and Priyanka have not left their position so far. It is therefore immaterial that the family will not be succeeding Rahul only. The family is very much in the helm even today and would remain so. Thus, a decision is required to be taken to put an elected President and all the elected office bearers including the family members if they remain there. A team may be selected to oversee the transition. This will be not a new endeavour for the party – there have been good elections in the party in the past as well.
    Whatever may be the opinions of the leaders, uncertainty must go.
    The party has a role to play for the nation and for that it has to get up first.
    There a quite number of leaders in the party who are capable of providing a sound and meaningful leadership. Those leaders must come up and provide their metal to the party.

  3. Shashi Tharoor apparently is an intellectual, a skilled orator and has superior virtues and looks down upon the masses who vote for BJP. He and the Congis like him truly feel they are superior.

    Such giants cannot explain why in the 21st century, the only qualification to be leader of their party and the prime ministerial candidate is his father, grand mother and great grand father were Prime Ministers. It doesn’t matter how stupid the Prince is.

    Such an intellectual giant Tharoor who knows it all!

    • Well said. He and his ilk – Ketkar types – will never learn. And Pilot, Scindia etc will never have that kind of spine. As for other like Kamal Nath etc, it is money money money.


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