Congress president election | Manish Tewari seeks transparency in process

Shashi Tharoor, Karti Chidambaram support Manish Tewari saying every election requires a well defined electoral college

August 31, 2022 01:52 pm | Updated 06:23 pm IST - New Delhi:

Congress Lok Sabha member Manish Tewari. File

Congress Lok Sabha member Manish Tewari. File | Photo Credit: Rajeev Bhatt

Lok Sabha member and senior Congress leader Manish Tewari on August 31 sharply reacted to the comments made by Madhusudan Mistry regarding the Congress presidential polls.

On Tuesday, Mr. Mistry, who heads the Congress’ Central Election Authority (CEA), had told The Hindu that none should doubt the fairness of the electoral process and asserted that the names of the delegates, who make up the 9,000-strong electoral college of the presidential elections, can be found out from the respective Pradesh Congress Committees (PCCs) or the State units.

In a series of tweets, Mr. Tewari said the electoral roll should be transparent and publicly available on the party’s website.

“With great respect @MD_Mistry ji How can there be a fair & free election without a publicly available electoral roll ? Essence of a fair & free process is names & addresses of electors must be published on @INCIndia website in a transparent manner,” he said, tagging The Hindu news report.

Mr. Tewari, who is a member of the ginger group called G-23 that has been pushing for internal reforms in the Congress for the past two years, questioned why should anyone visit the PCC offices to find out “who the electors are” and asserted that such things don’t happened even in “a club election”.

“In interests of fairness & transparency I urge your gods self to publish entire list of electors on @INCIndia website. How can someone consider running if he/she does not know who electors are. If someone has to file his/her nomination & gets it proposed by 10 Congresspersons as is requirement, CEA can reject it saying they are not valid electors,” he added.

The issue of electoral rolls not being made public was raised by another G-23 leader, Anand Sharma, at the Congress Working Committee (CWC) last Sunday when the final schedule was approved with a show of hands.

“Every election needs a well defined and clear electoral college. The process of forming the electoral college must also be clear, well defined and transparent. An ad hoc electoral college is no electoral college,” added Lok Sabha member Karti P. Chidambaram.

Countering the two leaders, their Lok Sabha and party colleague Manickam Tagore tweeted, ”I am a PCC member from Thiruparankundram Block in Madurai. Any 10 PCC members can propose a candidate for Congress President when the nomination starts. Why my colleagues are trying to create confusion in the electoral process. Instead we must be proud to have open system”.

Lok Sabha member Shashi Tharoor, however, agreed with Mr. Tewari, and said everybody should know who can nominate and who can vote.

“Certainly, I think it’s important that everybody should have transparency on the electoral rolls. If that’s what Manish has asked for, then I’m sure that it’s a principle that everybody would agree. Everybody should know who can nominate and who can vote. There is nothing wrong with that,” Mr. Tharoor said at a function in Thiruvananthapuram, while concurring with Mr. Tewari.

Though there has not been any public pronouncement yet by the G-23, The Hindu had reported that Mr. Tharoor may contest the upcoming presidential polls if he manages to get the support of a “critical mass of leaders”.

Mr. Tharoor too is a G-23 member even though he is said to be contemplating his electoral move independent of the group.

On August 30, key G-23 leaders like Mr. Sharma, Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Prithviraj Chavan had met in Delhi to strategise about the upcoming presidential polls and later called on former Congress stalwart, Ghulam Nabi Azad, who quit the party last Friday.

(With inputs from PTI)

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