Politics Stories

Will 1938 repeat in the Congress President’s election?

By C. K. George

Thrissur, Oct. 04: The question hogging the limelight of the political circle in the country is “to  be Shashi Tharoor  or  not   to  be,   elected  as  he  President  of  the Indian National Congress (INC) in the elections to be held on October  17.

Mallikarjun Kharge, a senior Congress leader and the opposition leader in the Rajya Sabha (upper house), and Shashi Tharoor, an international civil servant and member of the Lok Sabha representing Thiruvananthapuram for the third time in a row, appear to be locked in a battle.

There are political observers who hold the view that a repetition of the Haripura Congress session of the Indian National Congress in 1938 could not be ruled out now either.

The electoral fight then was between the official Indian National Congress candidate supported by Mahatma Gandhi, Pattabhi Sitaramaih  and Subhas Chandra Bose. Mahatma Gandhi claimed then that Sitaramaih’s defeat was his defeat.

Chandra Bose responded, ” I am the winner.”

At the Jaipur session, Pattabhi Sitaramaih was elected President of the Indian National Congress.

A large number of right-thinking Congressmen held the view that a change of leadership was required and that a new and energetic leader was essential to direct the Indian National Congress on the right track.

In the ensuing Congress Party’s presidential election, it is said that there would be no official candidate to stand for and no candidate from the Nehru-Gandhi family either.

According to media reports, Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, and Priyanka Vadra may not even cast their votes on October 17 with a view to maintaining neutrality and upholding the democratic process in the election of the president.

The unexpected development against Shashi Tharoor was that certain members of the ginger group called G-23 who sought internal reforms in the Congress party in August 2020, like Anand Sharma, Bhupinder Hooda, Prithviraj Chavan    and Manesh Tiwari  became the proposers of Kharge.

Tharoor didn’t give a hoot about the leaders who were with him. Shashi Tharoor firmly believed that they would extend their full support to him at the right moment, as Tharoor had done nothing wrong to sour their relationship.

It was their attitude not to displease Sonia Gandhi, publicly branding them as supporters of

Shashi Tharoor is against the establishment candidate. They would make up their mind at the right time.

The Indian National Congress is surrounded by sycophants, and their immaturity and lack of experience led them to give unhealthy advice to the party’s senior leaders for the aggrandisement of their  self-interest.

A large section of Congress leaders strongly believe that it is high time to free the Indian National Congress from the octopus’s clutches of sycophants. Hence the need for a change of leadership and hence the hope of Shashi Tharoor.

Besides, gerontocracy is steadily maintained by the apex body of the Indian National Congress and it is the  bane of the party too.

Tharoor’s rival is a very senior citizen at age 74.

Shashi Tharoor holds the view that the younger generation wants a change in the leadership of the party through    fool-proof democratic process of election.

According to media reports, Sonia has assured Tharoor that there would be no candidate supported by the Nehru-Gandhi family and that the president’s election would be in all respects completely democratic.

Tharoor is of the firm opinion that the real benefactors of the Indian National Congress would vote for him for a change of leadership  which is the need of the hour to appoint an energetic and effective leader who is fluent in English and Hindi and is well-liked by world leaders.

According to political observers, the results of the INC’s president election in October would be an unexpected phenomenon.


The author is a former PTI reporter.

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