Congress president poll: Tharoor challenges rival Kharge for public debate

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: Congress presidential candidate Shashi Tharoor on Sunday challenged rival Mallikarjun Kharge to a public debate similar to those conducted in Western democracies to help the voters choose the best candidate to lead the party.

He said that the Congress voters are spread across the vast length and breadth of India and it was difficult for any candidate to reach all of them within the short span of two-and-a-half weeks of campaigning time allowed as per the election schedule.

Claiming that he had no ideological differences with Kharge, Tharoor said an open exchange of ideas between candidates will help the delegates imbibe the party’s dominant ideas and lead to galvanising the organisation. He said such a debate will also attract the general public to the Congress party. 

Tharoor, who has been running a Twitter hashtag “ThinkTomorrowThinkTharoor”, had earlier dubbed Kharge as a “candidate of continuity” and the Congress party’s Bhishma Pitamah, said “I have a vision for Congress which I will be sending to all the delegates (voters on presidential election), we are going to seek their support… I am here to be voice of all party workers.”

He said the nomination papers he had submitted “reflect extraordinarily wide range of support extended voluntarily to me by party workers across India.” He submitted six sets of forms, which, he said, “represent party workers from a dozen states in India. We’re very pleased to have signs of party colleagues from Kashmir to Kerala, from Punjab to Nagaland. I hope my campaign will appeal to them and represent the way forward for the party.”

ALSO READ | In run for Congress president, Shashi Tharoor gets ‘surprise’ support from Kerala

Promising not to let down party workers, Tharoor said “those who would like to continue the status quo would not be inclined to vote for me because I represent change, a different approach, and a vision to take the party forward in a different way as for some years we’ve been suffering setbacks.”

Tharoor released a detailed manifesto for reviving the party’s fortunes. Among the proposals are a two-term cap for the party president; no seat for two-term losers; constitution of a shadow cabinet; transparent functioning; techno-management; revamp of students, youth and women wings; reach out to industries, professionals and MSMEs; decentralise leadership; and emphasis on India’s innate ideas of pluralism, secularism and economic growth.

He thanked Sonia Gandhi’s guidance and vision and said “it is a privilege to serve the only party in India with an open democratic process to choose its leader… She assured me that the party has no official candidate and the Gandhi family will stay neutral.”

Fobbed off consensus ployKharge said he told Tharoor to settle for a consensus candidate, but the latter insisted on a contest for democracy’s sake. Meanwhile, three young Congress leaders — Deepender Hooda, Naseer Hussain and Gourav Vallabh — resigned as spokespersons to campaign for Kharge 

NEW DELHI: Congress presidential candidate Shashi Tharoor on Sunday challenged rival Mallikarjun Kharge to a public debate similar to those conducted in Western democracies to help the voters choose the best candidate to lead the party.

He said that the Congress voters are spread across the vast length and breadth of India and it was difficult for any candidate to reach all of them within the short span of two-and-a-half weeks of campaigning time allowed as per the election schedule.

Claiming that he had no ideological differences with Kharge, Tharoor said an open exchange of ideas between candidates will help the delegates imbibe the party’s dominant ideas and lead to galvanising the organisation. He said such a debate will also attract the general public to the Congress party. 

Tharoor, who has been running a Twitter hashtag “ThinkTomorrowThinkTharoor”, had earlier dubbed Kharge as a “candidate of continuity” and the Congress party’s Bhishma Pitamah, said “I have a vision for Congress which I will be sending to all the delegates (voters on presidential election), we are going to seek their support… I am here to be voice of all party workers.”

He said the nomination papers he had submitted “reflect extraordinarily wide range of support extended voluntarily to me by party workers across India.” He submitted six sets of forms, which, he said, “represent party workers from a dozen states in India. We’re very pleased to have signs of party colleagues from Kashmir to Kerala, from Punjab to Nagaland. I hope my campaign will appeal to them and represent the way forward for the party.”

ALSO READ | In run for Congress president, Shashi Tharoor gets ‘surprise’ support from Kerala

Promising not to let down party workers, Tharoor said “those who would like to continue the status quo would not be inclined to vote for me because I represent change, a different approach, and a vision to take the party forward in a different way as for some years we’ve been suffering setbacks.”

Tharoor released a detailed manifesto for reviving the party’s fortunes. Among the proposals are a two-term cap for the party president; no seat for two-term losers; constitution of a shadow cabinet; transparent functioning; techno-management; revamp of students, youth and women wings; reach out to industries, professionals and MSMEs; decentralise leadership; and emphasis on India’s innate ideas of pluralism, secularism and economic growth.

He thanked Sonia Gandhi’s guidance and vision and said “it is a privilege to serve the only party in India with an open democratic process to choose its leader… She assured me that the party has no official candidate and the Gandhi family will stay neutral.”

Fobbed off consensus ploy
Kharge said he told Tharoor to settle for a consensus candidate, but the latter insisted on a contest for democracy’s sake. Meanwhile, three young Congress leaders — Deepender Hooda, Naseer Hussain and Gourav Vallabh — resigned as spokespersons to campaign for Kharge