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As campaign started in Kerala, Tharoor hit back at KPCC leaders who supported Kharge

The All India Congress Committee (AICC) had no official candidate for Congress president, Mr Tharoor said.

The All India Congress Committee (AICC) had no official candidate for Congress president, Mr Tharoor said.

Congress presidential candidate Shashi Tharoor took a dig at the veterans of the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) who had publicly pitched for his rival. Mallikarjun Kharge,

Mr Tharoor was at the KPCC headquarters at Indira Bhavan as part of his multi-state organizational election campaign tour.

Speaking to reporters, Mr Tharoor informed that Congress Chief Electoral Officer Madhusudan Mistry had asked the office bearers of the Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) to stay above the electoral fray or resign from their posts and campaign.

Mr Tharoor said the All India Congress Committee (AICC) had no official candidate. Secret voting and conscience is the mantra of the Congress leadership; AICC President Sonia Gandhi had reiterated the same.

Leaders who openly take sides in the contest challenge Ms. Gandhi’s writ. “It shows a certain disdain and lack of trust for the Gandhi family,” he said.

Support for Mr. Kharge

Mr Tharoor’s response to KPCC President K. It came a day after Sudhakaran was dumped in her lot with Mr. Kharge.

Mr Sudhakaran had earlier invoked a conscience in a row, in line with the AICC’s stated position, in the event of a competition. However, Mr. Sudhakaran later turned around and bowed to Mr. Kharge.

Many KPCC insiders saw Mr. Sudhakaran’s assertive tension as a comment on the political ambiguity of ambitious leaders on Mr. Kharge’s anti-RSS track. Earlier, former KPCC president Mullappally Ramachandran had accused Mr Tharoor of being “politically uncertain”.

Mr Tharoor said there was no ideological ambiguity in the Congress. “We are united in our anti-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) stand. Contesting presidential elections is not an anti-party activity. It has to be strengthened.”, he said.

Before Mr Tharoor’s election campaign in Kerala, a row of KPCC stalwarts stood in line behind Mr Kharge.

These included former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, KPCC working president Kodikunnil Suresh, Leaders of the Opposition VD Satishan, Ramesh Chennithala and former minister V. Shivakumar.

Mr Tharoor also received support from the younger members of the KPCC, especially Hibi Eden, MP and KS Sabrinathan, former MLA. MK Raghavan, MP, who represents the Kozhikode Lok Sabha constituency, also came out in support of Mr. Tharoor.

secret ballot

Mr. Tharoor seemed unfazed by Mr. Kharge’s loyalty among senior KPCC leaders. I respect seniority in the party. But seniors and juniors have equal weightage of votes in KPCC. One does not get priority over the other. I believe that all votes are equal, no matter who votes for them.”

Mr Tharoor said he saw hope in the secret ballot. “Sealed ballot boxes from PCC offices will be opened in the presence of candidates at AICC Headquarters. The votes will be mixed and counted. Hence no one will be able to know the voting pattern in different states”, he said.

Mr Tharoor said that he did not embody continuity but change. He had published a comprehensive manifesto for his electoral support. “I am getting support from many states. The Congress got only 19% of the total votes cast in the last two Lok Sabha elections. We have to regain lost ground. It cannot be business as usual, lest the Congress be disappointed in 2024″, he said.

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