Pitted against Tharoor(66) is 80-year-old Malikarjuna Kharge, the handpicked candidate of those close to the Gandhi family.
It was Tharoor who first announced his candidature saying that he will back out if Rahul Gandhi contests. When that did not happen, those who feared that Tharoor’s victory may dent the future of many who have been at the helm of affairs, got into the act.
Incidentally, when the close aides clinging to the Gandhi family failed to find a suitable candidate, it was former Defence Minister A.K.Antony and his much junior party colleague, also a Keralite- K.C.Venugopal roped in Kharge with the hashtag of representing the Scheduled Caste community being a seasoned and experienced party man.
When Tharoor hit the campaign trail, those opposing his candidature tried their utmost to thwart his campaign. When he arrived at several of the state Congress headquarters, none of the seasoned state leaders greeted him.
But a major boost that Tharoor got was when he reached Madhya Pradesh, the party veteran Kamalnath welcomed him with a huge smile and the grapevine is he gave a mouthful to a top Congress Kerala leader when he was asked not to entertain Tharoor.
Once the campaign of Tharoor got huge support, those who brought in Kharge started to feel the heat and with Tharoor coming up with a few complaints in the conduct of the elections, his opposite camp again went into a huddle on how to stop Tharoor.
On Monday, all eyes are on the about 9,300 Congress delegates who will be voting and Tharoor has already sprang a surprise when he managed to get 16 leaders from Kerala, including law makers, to sign his nomination papers.
Kerala has close to 300 KPCC workers who will be exercising their franchise and with 16 already signing his nomination papers, his tally will only go up. Tharoor has already said if he manages to get above 1,000 votes, he would have won a moral victory and go on to be a force in the party.
“Many have called me and offered support and how many votes actually I will get, we will know on Wednesday. This morning, Priyanka Gandhi told me this election has strengthened the party, as people have felt that. In democracy, if there is no choice, then there is no democracy. If you ask about the Gandhi family, they have said they will be impartial. Everything is fair in an election and I have nothing against the Gandhi family, but that’s not the case with some other leaders. My party needs rejuvenation and that’s one reason why I contested. In 2014 and 2019, Congress got just 19 per cent votes and that has to go up,” said Tharoor and added he is contesting for a Congress party and has got nothing to do with him.
All the ballots will reach Delhi on Tuesday and on Wednesday at the AICC headquarters, the ballots will be mixed and then counting will begin.
So Tharoor can safely continue as unlike for the post of UN Secretary general, in the Congress party he has come up with trumps, as the veto power has failed to work in 2022.
Just before polling bagan, Tharoor said he has done everything he could do and now it’s left to the choice of the voters.
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