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Shashi Tharoor to NDTV: Gandhis are ‘part of Congress’ DNA’, but…

Shashi Tharoor also stated that he is not the G23 candidate for the elections.

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New Delhi:

Shashi Tharoor, one of the two candidates for the October 17 Congressional presidential election, revealed today that Sonia Gandhi told him “you are welcome to participate” and that there would be no “official candidate” as his family would remain neutral.

The Congress deputy also stated that he is not the G-23 candidate for the election, the party’s first in more than 20 years.

On not consulting specifically with the “G23” or the group of dissidents who wrote to Sonia Gandhi in 2020 calling for massive reform in the party, Tharoor said: “I did not feel the need to speak to colleagues beyond their capacities. No I believe that there is an organization called G-23 beyond the imagination of the media”.

And he added: “I need the support of 9,000 people, not 23. I am not the candidate of the G-23.”

Tharoor said that when he met with Sonia Gandhi to inform her that he wanted to participate, she did not try to dissuade him at all.

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“If she had said why you want to compete, we always do things by consensus, leave it to us, we’ll find the right person… But there was none of that. On the contrary, she said exactly the same thing.” opposite. She said: ‘We think the elections are good for the party. If she wants to participate, she’s welcome,’” Tharoor told NDTV.

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Tharoor said he asked Sonia Gandhi if there would be an official candidate. “She said there will be no official candidate, as far as I’m concerned the whole family is neutral on the race. I had the same conversation but both Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Rahul Gandhi and I got the same message constantly. When Digvijay Singh was Sonia Gandhi received the same message”, said the Congress leader.

Tharoor said his is not a “protest candidacy” but a competition between party colleagues. Responding to critics who have questioned his experience in politics and whether he is the right person for the job, he said: “Fourteen years is plenty of time to make a contribution and to have shown both one’s loyalty to the party and its ideals and beliefs”. , and having had multiple opportunities to prove it, what I have done in parliament and the number of speeches and interventions and books and articles I have written. I don’t think I need to explain my candidacy.”

He also addressed the big question for any congressional candidate running for party chief: will the candidate be a Gandhi stooge?

“We’ll cross those bridges when we get to that. I certainly think the Gandhi’s place in Congress…their inextricable ties to the party’s DNA is great. It’s not about separating ourselves from them, their legacy. If they don’t want to be actively involved I don’t understand where the fear (of them pulling the strings) comes from,” Tharoor said.

Of the role he saw for Rahul Gandhi with a non-Gandhi in charge, Tharoor said: “There is no question of the appeal that he (Rahul Gandhi) and other members of the Gandhi family have to the voting public. For the party not to use a active like this would be foolish. At the same time, he has decided not to return as head of Congress. Frankly, if he wanted to be president, he could do it tomorrow with a snap of his fingers.”

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Rahul Gandhi is still considered to be in de facto charge, it was noted. Would he still be the face of Congress in the 2024 national elections? And it would be prudent, given the result of two general elections, he was asked.

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“They are dragging me down a road that has not yet been built. Let’s get to that… In 2024, I think there are a lot of factors to consider, including the possibility of a new opposition coalition or alliance. Other parties may have contenders in the fray, whether our own party necessarily has the face of a prime minister, whether there is any face of a prime minister: these things, others have to weigh their views, including the Gandhi,” he said.

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