Shashi Tharoor collects nomination form, first to officially enter race for Congress chief

Express News Service

T’PURAM/PALAKKAD: A day after the start of the political drama in Rajasthan that could result in Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot pulling out of the Congress presidential poll, focus has once again shifted to Shashi Tharoor. With Gehlot loyalists delivering a shock to the high command on Sunday by threatening to resign against its move to name Sachin Pilot as the CM’s successor, Tharoor, the Thiruvananthapuram MP, on Monday rushed to Pattambi in Palakkad to accompany Rahul Gandhi during the Bharat Jodo Yatra and sought his clearance to be the official candidate.

Tharoor flew to Kochi and went to Pattambi by road. His impromptu trip caught even senior Congress leaders in the district by surprise. Before he joined Rahul for the padayatra, Tharoor told reporters that the Gandhi family had no objections to his candidature.

“I spoke with Rahul Gandhi over the phone. All three members of the Gandhi family have extended their support. There have also been requests from several states for my candidature. So, I have decided to throw my hat in the ring. You will know who are backing me when I submit my nomination on September 30,” he said.

Tharoor confirmed that he will submit his nomination papers on Friday, the last day, after collecting signatures of 10 Congress office-bearers from across the country. Saying he had elicited both support and opposition from Kerala, Tharoor termed it normal and a healthy sign in a democracy.

‘I feel more candidates should participate’

On Gehlot’s candidature, Tharoor said, “As a candidate, one should be able to face an opponent with confidence. In my opinion, more candidates should participate. Unlike other parties, there is indeed internal democracy in Congress.”

Party sources from New Delhi confirmed to TNIE that the trip was Tharoor’s final attempt to convince the Congress leadership about his intention to contest as the official candidate.“The high command is still not convinced that Tharoor is a serious candidate. He may share a close rapport with the Gandhi family, but that does not necessarily stand him in good stead. He is yet to attain the political stature of other senior leaders like Kamal Nath, Digvijaya Singh, Mallikarjun Kharge, Mukul Wasnik and Sushil Kumar Shinde whose names are also doing the rounds for the Congress presidential election,” said a source.

The election, if required, would be held on October 17 and the results will be declared on October 19.Meanwhile, Congress national general secretary (organization) K C Venugopal rushed from Pattambi to New Delhi after Congress interim chief Sonia Gandhi summoned him to resolve the imbroglio created by Gehlot.

T’PURAM/PALAKKAD: A day after the start of the political drama in Rajasthan that could result in Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot pulling out of the Congress presidential poll, focus has once again shifted to Shashi Tharoor. With Gehlot loyalists delivering a shock to the high command on Sunday by threatening to resign against its move to name Sachin Pilot as the CM’s successor, Tharoor, the Thiruvananthapuram MP, on Monday rushed to Pattambi in Palakkad to accompany Rahul Gandhi during the Bharat Jodo Yatra and sought his clearance to be the official candidate.

Tharoor flew to Kochi and went to Pattambi by road. His impromptu trip caught even senior Congress leaders in the district by surprise. Before he joined Rahul for the padayatra, Tharoor told reporters that the Gandhi family had no objections to his candidature.

“I spoke with Rahul Gandhi over the phone. All three members of the Gandhi family have extended their support. There have also been requests from several states for my candidature. So, I have decided to throw my hat in the ring. You will know who are backing me when I submit my nomination on September 30,” he said.

Tharoor confirmed that he will submit his nomination papers on Friday, the last day, after collecting signatures of 10 Congress office-bearers from across the country. Saying he had elicited both support and opposition from Kerala, Tharoor termed it normal and a healthy sign in a democracy.

‘I feel more candidates should participate’

On Gehlot’s candidature, Tharoor said, “As a candidate, one should be able to face an opponent with confidence. In my opinion, more candidates should participate. Unlike other parties, there is indeed internal democracy in Congress.”

Party sources from New Delhi confirmed to TNIE that the trip was Tharoor’s final attempt to convince the Congress leadership about his intention to contest as the official candidate.“The high command is still not convinced that Tharoor is a serious candidate. He may share a close rapport with the Gandhi family, but that does not necessarily stand him in good stead. He is yet to attain the political stature of other senior leaders like Kamal Nath, Digvijaya Singh, Mallikarjun Kharge, Mukul Wasnik and Sushil Kumar Shinde whose names are also doing the rounds for the Congress presidential election,” said a source.

The election, if required, would be held on October 17 and the results will be declared on October 19.
Meanwhile, Congress national general secretary (organization) K C Venugopal rushed from Pattambi to New Delhi after Congress interim chief Sonia Gandhi summoned him to resolve the imbroglio created by Gehlot.