Shashi Tharoor, MP, on Monday exuded confidence in the Congress presidential poll to be held on October 17. Revealing his plan to submit the nomination papers on Friday, Mr. Tharoor said he had the support of Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi.
Mr. Tharoor met Rahul Gandhi when the latter reached Pattambi in the district during his Bharat Jodo Yatra on Monday. After discussions with the Congress leader, Mr. Tharoor said he had the support of a wide majority for the Congress president’s post.
“I am going to submit the nomination on Friday. You will see the support I enjoy when I submit my nomination papers. Many people from different parts of the country have asked me to contest the Congress presidential election,” said Mr. Tharoor.
He said he was hopeful of receiving the support of many in Kerala. However, Mr. Tharoor refused to comment on the intra-party political developments taking place in Rajasthan.
When asked about taking on Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, Mr. Tharoor said whoever is on the other side, he would fight the election with enthusiasm and confidence.
Echoing the sentiment expressed by Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Mr. Tharoor said he too favoured more people contesting the presidential election. “The democratic values within the Congress cannot be seen in any other party,” he said.
The poll picture, according to him, will be clear only after September 30, the last date for submission of nomination papers. The election is to be held on October 17, and the new president will be announced on October 19.
The scrutiny of the nominations will take place on October 1, and the following week offers candidates time to withdraw their nomination. The final list of candidates will be announced on October 8 evening.
It was in 2000 that the last contest for the Congress president’s post took place, when Sonia Gandhi defeated Jitendra Prasada.
According to a notification issued by the party on Thursday, the process for filing nominations for the election will be held from September 24 to 30.
The date for a scrutiny of the nomination papers is October 1, while the last date for withdrawal of nominations is October 8. The final list of candidates will be published at 5 p.m. on October 8.
The polling, if needed, will be held on October 17.
The counting of votes will be taken up on October 19 and the results will be declared the same day.
More than 9,000 Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) delegates will vote in the poll.
The Congress last saw a contest for the party president’s post in November 2000.
Jitendra Prasada had lost to Ms. Sonia Gandhi in 2000 and prior to that, Sitaram Kesri had defeated Sharad Pawar and Rajesh Pilot in 1997.
(With inputs from PTI)