Hours before the closing of the nomination window for the Congress presidential elections, Lok Sabha MP Manish Tewari on Friday ruled himself out of the race. Taking to Twitter, Tewari said that he has decided to opt out and wrote, “It’s time to close ranks and strengthen the party…”
Tewari, who was also part of the G-23 group, expressed unwillingness to join another member from the Congress’ rebel group Shashi Tharoor in the fight for the next Congress president.
Announcing his decision on Twitter, he wrote, “Leadership, Ideological clarity, narrative & transparent access to resources are pillars of ‘A’ political party Given recent unfortunate events it’s time to close ranks & strengthen @INCIndia recalling wise words of @CitiznMukherjee & work for a Consensus & effective Presidency,” while adding a quote of former India’s President Pranab Mukherjee, “Certain offices should not be sought. They should be offered. Congress presidency to be one such office…”
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With Ashok Gehlot and Digvijaya Singh also opting out of the race, the battle for the Congress top post looks set for a contest between Mallikarjun Kharge and Shashi Tharoor, the first party leader to throw his hat in the ring. Both leaders will file their nominations, which ends at 3 pm today. Keeping in line with the ‘one man, one post rule,’ Kharge will also resign from the post of Leader of Opposition (LoP) in the Rajya Sabha.
The Congress presidential election, nomination for which ends at 3 pm today, is now almost certain to be a direct contest between the ‘official’ candidate Mallikarjun Kharge and Shashi Tharoor, who was the first to express his desire to run for the election.
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According to reports, senior party leader KC Venugopal, also close to the Gandhis, was instrumental in Kharge’s last-minute decision to enter the race. It is believed that Kharge has the backing of the Gandhis, who maintained that they will stand neutral, for the October 17 Congress presidential polls. The result will be declared on October 19.