‘PCCs chiefs don’t welcome my candidacy’: Shashi Tharoor on ‘unequal playing field’ comment

Chennai: Congress presidential candidate and Kerala MP Shashi Tharoor said on Thursday that while there is no “spirit of enmity” in his party, his campaign for the post of party chairman is getting a good response compared to the treatment given to party veteran Mallikarjun Kharge. Tharoor complained that he did not receive an encouraging response from congressional state party leaders to his candidacy. The Thiruvananthapuram MP said that while he did not complain, he expected a better response from Congress office holders to his ongoing campaign for the post of party chairman.

When questioned about his comment about “uneven playing field”, Tharoor said: “… In several PCCs leaders welcomed and met Mallikarjun Kharge Saheb. But it was not done for me. I visited PCCs but PCC chiefs were not available. I’m not complaining, but don’t you see a difference in treatment?”

“We are fighting the elections, there is no spirit of enmity in our party. Kharge Sahab is my senior leader and I have worked closely with him. The election is about two colleagues who see how they can work to strengthen the party,” Tharoor said while talking to media.

Tharoor urged his party members to vote for him only if they want the party to go with change and asked them if they are happy with the situation. “If you think everything is fine then don’t vote for me because I want such a change in the party that brings back voters who didn’t stay with us in 2014 and 2019,” Tharoor said.

Tharoor said on Wednesday that he strongly believes that internal elections within the party will make the party strong and that a strong congress will make the country strong.

While campaigning in Ahmedabad, Tharoor urged them to vote for him after addressing party representatives. He was also in touch with media, saying that the party needs to be strengthened at the bloc level. He said he hopes Congress will become the party of young India.

He said he aims to bring those voters who left the party in 2014 back to the congressional fold by 2024. He also said he wished women would be given more weight in the party.

Tharoor said he has no difference with his rival Mallikarjun Kharge, and once the elections are over and the results are known, he will work with Kharge without any hesitation. Whoever wins the election will be Congress’s victory, he added.

It should be noted that Kharge is reportedly getting tremendous support from Congress leaders during his visit to various PCCs while campaigning for the post of Congress President.

Amid intense speculation about receiving massive support from the Gandhi family, Kharge recently clarified that Sonia Gandhi was not suggesting his name to Congressional office holders as she has decided to remain neutral in the party presidential poll.

Meanwhile, Congress’s Central Electoral Authority (CEA) has barred party secretaries and other office holders from voting in their assigned states in the party’s presidential elections, allowing them to vote in their own states instead.

In a circular, Madhusudan Mistry, the CEA chairman, said: “As you well know, the election for the presidential election of Congress will take place on Monday, October 17, 2022 at all PCC headquarters from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“In order to maintain impartiality and maintain transparency in the electoral process, the Central Election Authority has decided that no AICC Secretary General/Heads of State, Secretaries and Jt. Secretaries may vote in their assigned states.”

Therefore, they have been asked to cast their vote either in the home state or at the AICC office, according to their choice, the order said. The chairman of Congress’s Central Electoral Authority (CEA) allayed fears of being identified and assured voters on Wednesday of the secrecy of voting in the October 17 party election.

While promulgating the standard voting protocol for the ballot counting, Madhusudan Mistry said there was no numbering on the papers and only the slip of details will be kept with the electoral authority while the ballot boxes will be sealed for the elections and unsealed agents. Prior to the counting of the votes, all ballots will be mixed so that no one knows how many votes the candidate of a particular state has received.

He said he had received a complaint that has been dealt with by the CEA. In the battle for the top post are Shashi Tharoor and Mallikarjun Kharge. Sixty-seven stands have been set up in all states, according to the party’s CEA.

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