Consensus evades Congress over choosing party president

Consensus evades Congress over choosing party president

Consensus evades Congress over choosing party president. (PTI Photo)

Confusion is the hallmark in Congress as the party oscillates between one extreme to another over the choice of the new president.

As Rahul Gandhi is back from abroad, formulae being suggested by leaders vary from going for elections for the president's post to Gandhis choosing the successor to running the party without a president with the help of a committee of leaders.

Diplomat-turned-Congress MP from Thiruvananthapuram Shashi Tharoor on Monday made a strong pitch for “fresh blood” in the party, saying Congress should be led a “young man or woman” to be chosen through an election.

Replying to questions about the possibility of Priyanka Gandhi taking over as Congress President, Tharoor said all Congressmen including he will be very happy if she chooses to do so. He added that if Gandhis decide not to take it up, “a party with 135 years of history should be able to find a leader”.

Tharoor stressed that the Congress Working Committee can only appoint an interim president, which should be done soon, but the president should be chosen through an election.

Tharoor said around 10,000 PCC delegates can elect the new president and anybody selected through this process will gain respect and acceptability. He recalled how Sonia Gandhi had emerged a much more credible leader after becoming Congress President in an election in November 2000 in which she had defeated Jitendra Prasad.

Former law minister Ashwani Kumar, agreeing with the urgency in the matter of Congress appointment said, “each day (of delay) is adding to the confusion and a sense of loss of direction” but found Tharoor’s insistence on election to have a new President as “utterly futile”.

“The inescapable reality of the party is that only a person who enjoys the confidence of the first family in Congress can succeed in the role of the Congress President,” he said advocating that Gandhis should give their consent to one of the names being given to them by CWC.

Kumar felt the debate between young and old as party president is futile. What is required is a person with the most acceptability, proven capability and credibility.”

Another young MP, son of a top party leader felt that currently there is no leader in the party outside Gandhi family, who is acceptable to all and commands everyone’s respect.

“Hence the very idea of finding out a new non-Gandhi Congress President at this stage is immature. Instead, the party should be run by a grouping which has both seniors and young leaders. Such a committee can be chaired by someone. But there is no need for a party president right now,” he said.