Shashi Tharoor said he has always advocated holding free and fair elections in the party and wants a fresh election for a new president and members of the Congress Working Committee.
Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor has reiterated his call for addressing organisational challenges to address the growing perception that the party is adrift. Speaking to The Indian Express, Tharoor said the party must fix its leadership issues on top priority to re-energise the rank and file of the party. The Congress MP said he has always advocated holding free and fair elections in the party and wants a fresh election for a new president and members of the Congress Working Committee.
“We certainly need to address our own internal leadership questions, starting with the long-term future of the position of the Congress president, as well as membership of the Working Committee,” he said.
“I have personally been an outspoken advocate for free and transparent elections within the party for these positions because such a process would significantly add to their credibility and legitimacy which, in turn, would be vital assets as they set about the significant organisational challenges associated with re-energising the rank and file of the party,” Tharoor told the daily.
He said that the Congress is indispensable for the country, adding that “we have to deal with a certain perception in the eyes of the public that we are adrift”. This, he said, is hurting the Congress since such an image will naturally drive voters towards other political alternatives, as the results from the Delhi elections reflect.
He said that the party is already working to overcome some organisational and structural challenges but the performance in recent elections have made it clear that “we need to do more to aggressively get our message across to the voters”.
When asked about the Congress’ drubbing in the two consecutive Lok Sabha elections, Tharoor said the party had some degree of introspection and accountability and cited then party president Rahul Gandhi’s decision to offer resignation to shoulder the failure.
“But while introspection and accountability are certainly important, we can’t live in the past forever. It’s time we worked together to move forward and finding a new President is a crucial first step towards this goal,” he said.
The Congress President post is lying vacant since Rahul’s resignation after the loss in the general elections. The CWC initially rejected his resignation, but Rahul was adamant not to continue. The CWC then picked his mother Sonia Gandhi as the interim president.
Tharoor said it is unfair to expect that Sonia Gandhi will serve indefinitely.
“But at the end of the day, a revived Congress is indispensable for India. We are the only national party that can challenge the ideology and the policies of the BJP government,” he said.
“But in order for us to effectively fulfil this responsibility, we do need to find ourselves a new President to fill the vacuum created in the wake of Rahul Gandhi’s resignation and, we need to do so without any further delay,” the Congress leader said,
Tharoor also said he wish Rahul hadn’t resigned. “But if he persists in his determination, we need to find an active and full-time leadership so the Party can move forward as the nation expects,” he said.
After Congress’ defeat in the Delhi Assembly elections, several Congress leaders including Tharoor and Sandeep Dikshit openly expressed displeasure over the party leadership’s failure to find a new president. Dikshit even said the party has capable leaders but the top leaders are unwilling to make decisions.