Open for public debate: Shashi Tharoor to Mallikarjun Kharge
As Congress stalwart Mallikarjun Kharge launched his campaign for the upcoming Congress presidential election on Sunday, his rival in the contest, Thiruvananthapuram MP Shashi Tharoor, said he was open to a public debate. Kharge, however, refused his offer, saying he didn't want to get into it as he only knows how to work. Tharoor earlier also clarified there was no ideological difference between them.
Why does this story matter?
- The grand old party is set to hold its presidential election on October 17 to choose a non-Gandhi leader at its helm.
- Considered a favorite earlier, Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot pulled out of the contest following a political crisis within the state, while Digvijaya Singh withdrew his nomination to make way for Kharge, his "senior."
- The competition now stands between Tharoor and Kharge.
Party spokespersons resign to campaign for Kharge
Kharge said the need of the hour was to fight the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) rather than fighting each other within the Congress. Meanwhile, Deepender Hooda, Syed Naseer Hussain, and Gourav Vallabh resigned as Congress spokespersons on Sunday to campaign for Kharge. Kharge and Sonia Gandhi will reportedly join the party's Bharat Jodo Yatra in Karnataka on Thursday.
Wanted consensus for the post, says Kharge
Calling Shashi Tharoor his younger brother, Mallikarjun Kharge said he didn't wish to oppose anyone but only to strengthen the Congress. He added a consensus for the top post would be better, but Tharoor said a contest was good in democracy. Kharge said that they should rather jointly debate with the RSS-BJP as debating among themselves would neither benefit the country nor the party.
Will bring change as per workers' expectations: Tharoor
Earlier, Tharoor said leaders like Kharge—who's among the top three leaders of the party— can't bring reforms to Congress and would continue with the existing system. He, on the other hand, will bring change as per the party workers' expectations, Tharoor proclaimed. He added he would send his manifesto about internal changes needed to over 9,000 delegates—who will vote in the election—seeking their support.
Kerala Congress divided over Tharoor, Kharge
Meanwhile, Kerala Congress leaders are in a fix over whom to support among Kharge and Tharoor. Senior leaders like Leader of Opposition (LoP) in State Assembly, VD Satheesan, pledged their support to Kharge, while youngsters like Lok Sabha MP Hibi Eden are rallying behind Tharoor. Satheesan asserted Kerala Congress leaders and workers were supporting Kharge to proudly witness a Dalit becoming the party chief.