Hindu Vivek Kendra
«« Back

Congress again in turmoil, Shashi Tharoor wants election for party president

Author: TNN
Publication: The Times of India
Date:  February 21, 2020
URL:      https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/congress-again-in-turmoil-over-leadership/articleshow/74234008.cms

After a brief lull, Congress on Thursday was seized by a fresh burst of discontent with demands that the party put an end to the leadership vacuum, with senior MP Shashi Tharoor saying elections be held to fill the post of party president and former minister Veerappa Moily calling for a ‘chintan baithak’ to end the “organisational slumber”.

The demand came amid continued confusion whether Rahul Gandhi was ready to resume the top job that he quit after + the Lok Sabha debacle in May 2019 despite the buzz that there was no other candidate for the responsibility and a party conclave might be called in April after the ongoing budget session. However, Rahul’s aides said the Gandhi scion has not yet conveyed his mind.

Sonia Gandhi was appointed + interim president by the Congress Working Committee in August 2019 after Rahul refused to take back his resignation despite all-round pleas even as he reportedly expressed unhappiness over party functionaries, including younger ones, not following suit in quitting party posts. The mood in the party remains glum, despite reverses BJP suffered in state elections, most recently in Delhi.

In a tweet, Tharoor said, “I renew my appeal to the Congress Working Committee to hold leadership elections to energise workers and inspire voters.”
Shashi Tharoor @ShashiTharoor
What @SandeepDikshit said openly is what dozens of party leaders from across the country are saying privately, incl many w/ responsible positions in the Party. I renew my appeal toCWC to hold leadership elections to energise workers&inspire voters.

He said voting should be done by 10,000 AICC and PCC delegates to elect not only the party chief but also the CWC members. The suggestion comes at time when some in the party feel that even if Rahul were to return as president, there should be an elected CWC rather than a fully nominated one.

Former MP Sandeep Dikshit asked Congress veterans to move beyond Rahul and initiate the process to end the leadership limbo. Backing him, Tharoor said the view was shared by most in Congress.

War of words in Congress: Now, Sandeep Dikshit raises 'leadership question'; gets Shashi Tharoor's support

Former Maharashtra CM Prithviraj Chavan said the party suffered immensely due to nomination culture brought in the CWC after Sonia took over as president in 1998 and demanded polls for CWC’s 10 elected members. “During tenures of P V Narasimha Rao and Sitaram Kesri, there used to be polls for CWC’s 10 seats from where good leaders had emerged. The coterie around Sonia Gandhi didn’t let polls be conducted in all these years, due to which good leaders are not emerging,” he said.

In a reaction, the AICC frowned on the public comments made on the leadership issue. Party spokesman Randeep Surjewala said if Dikshit had spent so much energy in his parliamentary constituency in Delhi, Congress would have won the polls. There was speculation if disciplinary action should be taken against those speaking out.

While Tharoor’s demand for party polls appeared to suggest that a non-Gandhi should be considered an option, as Rahul told the CWC when he resigned in May, a section of Congressmen revived the clamour for Rahul’s return.

“Our demand is that Rahul Gandhi should return as party president,” Shaktisinh Gohil, AICC in-charge of Bihar and Delhi, said. Party general secretary Harish Rawat added, “Rahul should return as party chief. He resigned and impressed upon everybody the importance of accountability. Now, there is need to move things forward.”

In recent months, appeals to Rahul to change his mind have come from chief ministers Bhupesh Baghel, Ashok Gehlot and even veterans like A K Antony had weighed in his favour. Jyotiraditya Scindia recently stressed the need in Congress for a “new mindset, new working style and new ideology”. Jairam Ramesh too asked the party to reinvent itself and to realise that it was in the opposition.

In contrast, some have said that Priyanka Gandhi Vadra could be the replacement if Rahul refused to change his mind on taking back the top job. A sense of exasperation is palpable as insiders argue that failure to seal the issue in the last six months has returned Congress to the crossroads that it found itself at after the LS debacle.

Former Union minister Veerappa Moily said, “The present slumber cannot continue. The party should call important leaders from states and the Centre, and seek their opinion to come out of this stalemate. The issue of leadership has to be decided collectively.”

According to him, a ‘chintan baithak’ is required for exchange of views on reviving the party, adding that Congress should be fighting fit by 2023.

A key CWC member conceded there was listlessness on the decision-making front and a resolution to the leadership conundrum had to be found.

«« Back
  Search Articles
  Special Annoucements