For Shashi Tharoor, who took the nod from Congress chief Sonia Gandhi to run for the post of party's president, gaining the support from his stronghold Kerala appears to be difficult as the Congress leaders in the state are not happy with Tharoor's decision to run for the top job. The leaders have expressed their displeasure when the party is gearing up for the presidential poll for the first time in decades.
Tharoor has been serving as Lok Sabha MP from the Trivandrum constituency in Kerala and when the Gandhi family-backed Ashok Gehlot appeared to be a probable front runner for the top post, Tharoor jumped in and sparked a race for the reign. Earlier this week, he got consent from Sonia Gandhi to run for president. However, his drive to build momentum met with a setback in Kerala.
On Tuesday, a senior Congress leader in Kerala termed Tharoor's decision as his personal one while another leader affirmed that the Kerala Congress unit will vote only for those who recognize the prominence of the Nehru family. According to PTI, senior Congress leaders Kodikunnil Suresh and K Muraleedharan have expressed their displeasure over Tharoor's decision.
Both the leaders have joined the national chorus in backing Rahul Gandhi and said that the Kerala unit wanted Rahul Gandhi to become the party's president. Speaking to the reporters, Suresh said, "If he (Rahul Gandhi) is not willing to take up the position, a person acceptable to the AICC (All India Congress Committee) and the majority of leaders and workers should come to that post. That is the wish of the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee and all of us."
Suresh is a senior MP from Kerala and he further said that Shashi Tharoor has taken the decision to contest by himself and it was not yet clear whether he had made any deliberations at the party level in this regard. He stated that Tharoor's race to the top job is not viewed as a serious contest. By citing that the people who get more votes would win the race, Suresh said Tharoor's contest will not create any crisis in the party.
Indirectly expressing displeasure against Tharoor, senior Congress leader and Vadakara MP Muraleedharan said that the state unit of the party would only vote for those who recognize the prominence of the Nehru family. He said that Rahul Gandhi would take up the post of president and affirmed that the party will vote only for those who recognize the prominence of the Nehru family.
As Shashi Tharoor is part of the G23 leaders group that rivalled against the leadership of the Gandhis, it has become a vital reason why Tharoor is not scoring good from his stronghold. Moreover, as most of the Congress units across the country have passed resolutions urging Rahul Gandhi to take over the post, the political observers say the leaders are unhappy with Tharoor for creating a race, though it may not favour him.
Adding to that, Rahul Gandhi is an MP from Kerala and as most of the Congress leaders in the state are backing him, they are expressing displeasure against Tharoor for his decision to run for the post of president. The notification for the Presidential election will be issued on September 22 and besides Gehlot and Tharoor, there is no sight of any other leaders to be the front runners. The process of filing nominations for the election will be held from September 24 to 30 and the last date for withdrawal of nominations is October 8. While the polls will be held on October 17, the results will be out on October 19.