Shashi Tharoor, the articulate Congressman and India’s vocabulary-laden politician has dropped a major hint about the role he would like to play in the party he still refers to as his own – the Congress. While a major chunk of the party’s leaders have lost hope and are considering pursuing their careers in other political parties, Shashi Tharoor is playing quite a brilliant game. This involves remaining an absolute Gandhi loyalist while also calling for reforms within the party.
As such, when Jyotiraditya Scindia left the party to join the BJP, Tharoor had said that leaders must stick to the party and reform it from within. Today, i.e., August 10 marks the completion of Sonia Gandhi operating as the Congress’ interim chief for one year, after Rahul Gandhi had quit the post last year owning responsibility for the party’s obliteration at the hands of the BJP in the 2019 general elections.
Now, Shashi Tharoor is subtly signalling the Gandhis to get their act together, take a backseat and give the go ahead to conduct fair elections within the party in order to choose a leader who can help resuscitate the sinking ship that is the Congress. Wrapping the same with all possible niceties, Tharoor remarked, “I certainly believe we should be clear about our leadership going forward. I welcomed Sonia Ji’s appointment as interim president last year, but I do believe it’s unfair to her to expect her to carry this burden indefinitely.” He further told news agency PTI that the “Congress needs to expedite the process of finding full-term president to arrest perception of being rudderless and adrift.”
Shashi Tharoor also voiced his support for Rahul Gandhi’s return as the president of the party once again, despite the man bringing unmitigated ruin for the Congress. Again, there is a catch in this proposition of the Thiruvananthapuram MP as well. Tharoor said that he certainly thinks Rahul Gandhi has the “mettle, capability and aptitude to once again lead the party”, but if he does not wish to do so then the party must “take action” to elect a new chief.
Shashi Tharoor is seen as a man within the Congress who can truly navigate through the simmering tensions between the old and the new guard of the party, as he is said to have amiable relations with both factions. Both within the party and outside, Tharoor has a considerable following. Among the youth of the nation, the man is admired for his dominion over the English language. Further, Shashi also carries the mantle of ‘intellectualism’ in India. This gives the man much reason to aspire to become the Congress President.
By far, Tharoor being elected as the President in a free and fair election within the Congress is a high possibility. This, however, depends on whether the Gandhi dynasty allows the man to remain in the party. Anyone displaying their willingness to take the reins of the party in their own hands are either sacked by the top leadership, or are discredited as a leader. Dissent within the party is not welcome, as we all know.
How Sanjay Jha, a known Gandhi loyalist for long was unceremoniously sacked by the dynasty for merely putting forward his views on the current state of the grand old party is well known. Shashi Tharoor stares at the same fate, if he were to continue with this line, seeking elections within the party and also supporting the prospect of a non-Gandhi president for the party.
Shashi Tharoor would be a formidable challenge to the authority of the Gandhis. He is therefore flexing his muscles. Being a diplomat at heart, Tharoor is playing quite the game in the Congress currently.