Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor said Thursday that he won’t run for the CWC elections if the party decides to hold them. He said that after running for the AICC presidency, he doesn’t want to run for anything else and that it’s “time for others to step forward.”
In an exclusive interview with PTI about the Congress’s upcoming plenary session in Raipur, Chhattisgarh, Tharoor said that the convention is happening at a “turning point” in the party’s history because it is happening after the presidential elections and the Bharat Jodo Yatra, but before the elections in 2024. The Lok Sabha member from Thiruvananthapuram said that the plenary could not have come at a better time because it gives party members a chance to talk about “what we have gained and what challenges the party will face in the future.”
When asked if it was important for the party to hold elections for the Congress Working Committee (CWC) at the party’s plenary session and if he had brought this up with the party leadership, Tharoor said, “I had made the point that elections are good for the party and had run in one election myself. Since I lost, I don’t think it is my place to tell the party leadership what to do.” Let them take whatever steps they think are right.”
He said that the view of the majority of the All India Congress Committee (AICC) will win out.
The former Union minister said, “I’m pretty sure that if a majority of the delegates want an election, they will hold one. If the majority would rather not rock the boat right now and just move forward, that will also be a choice.”
“I just feel that because I ran for office once, made my point, and didn’t win the majority or even come close to winning the majority of delegates, I’ve lost the right to ask for the same thing,” he said.
Tharoor said that he was “stepping back a little bit” from his call for CWC polls. He said that this was not because he was taking back what he had said, but because he had made his point and it was now up to the people who won the presidential elections and are in charge of the party’s future to make a decision after consulting with the majority of the delegates.
Tharoor said that, from a philosophical point of view, he had shown during the presidential elections that polls can be a very useful way to rally the party.
But he said that if most of the party wanted to do something else, it wasn’t his place to do what he wanted instead of what the majority wanted. When asked if he would run in the CWC elections, Tharoor said, “Right now, I’m not thinking about any more elections. I’ve done my part and said what I wanted to say. I think others should step up if they think that’s the way to go.”
When asked if he might run in the future if his supporters asked him to, Tharoor said that there had been no announcement about the CWC elections yet, so he couldn’t make a choice.
“If they do get announced, I feel like I’ve already done my part, so to speak, and I should let it go to someone else. But Tharoor said, “I will definitely talk to a number of colleagues in the party if polls are announced and colleagues want to run. We will see what is best for the party.”
“In the end, all of these activities are meant to make the party stronger. We don’t want to weaken the party a year before general elections…
“We’ll do what’s best for the party, even if that means not running in a poll, if that’s what people who care about the party’s future want,” he said.
Tharoor ran for president of the Congress in October of last year, but Mallikarjun Kharge beat him. Even though Kharge was seen as having a lot of support from the party’s top leaders, he made a name for himself by getting more than 1,000 votes from PCC delegates. Party sources say that members of the Congress Steering Committee will meet on February 24 in Raipur, Chhattisgarh, to decide if elections should be held for the CWC, which is the party’s highest decision-making body.
When asked if holding CWC elections would finish the cycle started by the presidential elections, Tharoor said that the party needs to move forward, renew itself, bring back some of its dormant parts, and build on the new confidence and energy that became clear when the Bharat Jodo Yatra reached its peak in Srinagar.
K Muraleedharan, Benny Behanan, and M K Raghavan, three leaders from Kerala, were said to have met with Kharge. When asked if they supported his nomination as a member of the CWC, Tharoor said he wasn’t at the meeting and didn’t want to talk about things he didn’t know about.
Tharoor said that most of his meeting with Kharge last week was about the All India Professionals Congress, which he leads. They also talked about some other things. When asked if he ever felt left out or unimportant after the AICC presidential elections last year, Tharoor said, “My role in politics has been pretty clear so far.
I am the Member of Parliament for Thiruvananthapuram, which is a very important job that I have to do every day. I am also a member of parliament, which means that the party can ask me to talk about any issue they want. I am the leader of the All India Professionals’ Congress (AIPC), and I also lead a standing committee of the Indian parliament. “Those are my portfolios, and they have been for a few years,” he said, adding that they haven’t changed for the better or worse since the party’s presidential election.
The plenary session on February 24-26 will ratify Mallikarjun Kharge’s election as Congress president. The leaders of the party will meet in Raipur to talk about how to move forward. There has been a lot of talk about whether some CWC seats would be filled by elections or whether the president would be able to choose all of the members.
According to the party’s constitution, the working committee is made up of the president of the Congress, the leader of the Congress Party in Parliament, and 23 other members. Twelve of the members are chosen by the AICC based on rules set by the CWC, and the rest are chosen by the president.