Congress President Polls: After Vallabh's Remark On Tharoor, Jairam Ramesh Urges All Spokespersons To Refrain From Commenting On Candidates

Congress President Polls: After Vallabh's Remark On Tharoor, Jairam Ramesh Urges All Spokespersons To Refrain From Commenting On Candidates

A day after Congress leader Gourav Vallabh made fun of Shashi Tharoor for potentially running for AICC presidency, the party on Friday advised all of its representatives and office holders in the communication department to desist from making comments against any of its fellow candidates, news agency PTI reported.

In the first hint of leaders choosing sides in the approaching race for the top job, Vallabh also expressed support for another candidate, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, who many feel has the support of the existing leadership.

“I would strongly urge all spokespersons and office bearers of Communications Department of AICC to refrain from making any comment of any kind on any colleague of ours contesting the elections for the post of Congress president. We all have our individual preferences but our job is to only highlight that the Congress is the only political party to have a democratic and transparent system in place for election to the post of its president,” reads the message communicated to all spokesperson, according to sources, PTI reported .

According to the sources, Jairam Ramesh instructed the spokespersons and office holders of the communications department that it was their responsibility to draw attention to the fact that Congress is the only political party in India with a separate election authority to conduct organisational polls.

“A person wanting to contest needs no nod from anybody to do so except from 10 PCC delegates for filing nomination form. The election authority ensures free and fair elections.Spokespersons have to ensure that elections are seen to be free and fair,” Ramesh was quoted by PTI in its report.

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“If elections have to be held on October 17th so be it. We welcome it. Even so the focus of the entire party organisation should be and indeed is to make the Bharat Jodo Yatra, which has already evoked tremendous response even more of a resounding success,” the sources cited the Congress general secretary as saying in his message.

Vallabh is also a party spokesperson, however he claims his remarks were made as a Congress worker, not as a spokesperson.

Taking to Twitter, Vallabh stated: “Like crores of workers, my first wish is that Rahul Gandhi ji should provide his leadership to the Congress and the country. But if Rahul Gandhi ji remains steadfast on his decision (of not taking up the Congress chief post) and one has to choose between the two names that are appearing in public discussion, then there is no comparison between the two.”

वहीं दूसरी तरफ़ श्री शशि थरूर साहब हैं,जिनका पिछले 8 वर्षों में पार्टी के लिए एक ही प्रमुख योगदान है-कांग्रेस अध्यक्षा सोनिया गाँधी जी को तब चिट्ठियाँ भेजी जब वह अस्पताल में भर्ती थीं,इस कृत्य ने मेरे जैसे पार्टी के करोड़ों कार्यकर्ताओं को पीड़ा पहुँचाईचयन बहुत सरल और स्पष्ट है

— Prof. Gourav Vallabh (@GouravVallabh) September 22, 2022

On the one side, there is Gehlot, who has been a Union minister, three times chief minister, five times MP, and five times MLA, and who has defeated Narendra Modi-Amit Shah in a straight battle and has enjoyed 45 years of “spotless” political life, according to him.

“On the other hand there is Shashi Tharoor sahib who has made only one major contribution to the party in the last eight years — sent letters to Congress President Sonia Gandhi ji when she was hospitalised, this act caused pain to crores of party workers like me. The choice is very simple and clear,” he had said.

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Vallabh’s comments alluded to a letter written to Sonia Gandhi in 2020 by a group of 23 leaders, including Tharoor, requesting major party reforms.

Tharoor quoted former US President Theodore Roosevelt’s renowned speech “The Man in the Arena” in a late-night tweet.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat,” Roosevelt had said in the speech tweeted by Tharoor.

— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) September 22, 2022

Many regarded Tharoor’s tweet as a response to Vallabh and other criticism, as well as a reference to his possible All India Congress Committee (AICC) presidential bid.

After more than two decades, the Congress is about to witness a struggle for the position of party head. Gehlot and Tharoor are widely regarded as the most likely candidates.

The Congress’ central election body issued a notification for the AICC president elections on Thursday, kicking off the process of choosing the party’s longest-serving leader, Sonia Gandhi. According to reports, Tharoor visited Sonia Gandhi on Monday and declared his decision to run in the next AICC head elections, while the Congress president stated that she would remain “neutral” in the elections.

Sonia Gandhi welcomed the prospect of more people running for office and dismissed the notion of a “official candidate.” 

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(With Inputs From PTI)