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Shashi Tharoor To Run for Congress President Post, Sonia Gandhi Gives Go-Ahead

Tharoor has been a part of the group of 23 leaders who have been pressing for reforms in the grand-old party.

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Former Union Minister Shashi Tharoor will be running for the post of the Congress president.

As per sources, Tharoor got the go-ahead from Congress interim chief Sonia Gandhi.

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Tharoor met party president Sonia Gandhi on Monday, who said that she would “stay neutral” in the upcoming presidential elections.

Even though Tharoor refused to divulge the details of the 40-minute-meeting, a leader told The Indian Express that Sonia assured Tharoor of a “free and fair election,” which means that she will not endorse or back any candidate.

Sources told the newspaper that Sonia had earlier indicated that Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot should lead the party. Her go-ahead to Tharoor is significant, given that backdrop.

The leader also said that Sonia hadn’t discouraged Tharoor from contesting the election when he had told her of his intent earlier.

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Meanwhile, senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh told news agency ANI that there is no need for "anybody's nod" to contest elections for the party's top post.

"Anybody who wants to contest (for the post of the Congress president) is free and welcome to do so. This has been the consistent position of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. This is an open, democratic, and transparent process. Nobody needs anybody's nod to contest," Ramesh said.

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'Constructive Reforms to the Party'

Tharoor, who was among the group of 23 leaders who had written to Gandhi in 2020 demanding an organisational overhaul in the grand-old party, also endorsed a petition on Monday by a group of young party members seeking "constructive reforms."

The petition shared by Tharoor on Twitter sought reforms and a pledge by the AICC presidential candidates to implement the Udaipur Declaration in its entirety if elected. The former Union minister said it had been signed by over 650 people so far.

Asked about the possibility of him running for the post of the Congress president, Tharoor had told PTI earlier this month, "I have only welcomed the fact that an election will be held. I believe that is very good for the party."

"Of course it is gratifying that this general statement of democratic principle has immediately led to large numbers of people around the country welcoming the prospect of my contesting. But as I have made it clear, I have not declared my candidacy," Tharoor had said.

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Rahul Gandhi as Congress Chief?

Meanwhile, the 'Make Rahul Gandhi AICC President again' chorus is growing louder in the Congress, with over half a dozen state units so far seeking his elevation to the top post, even as uncertainty and suspense persisted over whether he would take on the mantle.

After Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, and Gujarat units of the Congress demanded that Gandhi be made the party chief, the party's Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Bihar, Jammu and Kashmir, and Mumbai units also passed resolutions calling for his elevation to the post of the president on Monday.

The process for filing nominations for the election will be held from 24 to 30 September. The last date for withdrawal of the nominations is 8 October and the election, if required, will be held on 17 October. The results will be out on 19 October.

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(With inputs from PTI.)

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Topics:  Congress   Rahul Gandhi   Shashi Tharoor 

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