CWC should appoint interim chief, then hold party polls for top posts: Shashi Tharoor
(PTI Photo)

New Delhi: Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Sunday said the CWC should appoint an interim president immediately and then hold polls for the party chief's post as a leader elected by workers will be empowered and have more credibility.

His remarks came hours after his party announced that the Congress Working Committee (CWC) will meet on August 10 at the AICC headquarters here. "When we spoke with Rahul Gandhi, he said 'I believe in a culture of accountability'. If Rahul Gandhi has done this, then it is relevant for everyone. This principle is not just for one person," Tharoor said addressing a press conference after the national executive state leaders' meet of the All India Professionals' Congress (AIPC) which he heads.

He said the AIPC, in its meeting, also urged the senior leadership of the Congress, particularly the CWC, to urgently follow the "wishes of the Congress President" and the processes established in the Congress constitution to bring certainty to the millions of faithful party workers and others who want a robust opposition. The urgent appointment of an interim president followed by internal elections to the senior leadership positions in the party will strengthen the credibility and legitimacy of the Congress nationwide, he said.

Asked about Milind Deora suggesting the names of Sachin Pilot and Jyotiraditya Scindia for the post of party president and calls for Priyanka Gandhi Vadra to take over as chief, Tharoor said he has not talked about individuals, but about a process that needs to be followed in electing the president. "I had suggested and the AIPC also endorsed it that polls should held in the party. The constitution also says that the CWC should appoint an interim president and then hold polls. The only question is whether there should be a smaller AICC or expanded AICC," Tharoor said.

"There is one AICC with around 1,000 delegates and the other of about 10,000 in which PCC members are also there. In my opinion if 10,000 workers elect someone, that person will be more empowered," he said, adding that he has full faith in the workers that they will choose a president who will work for the betterment of the country and the party. He said the AIPC resolved to request the CWC to settle without delay the selection of an interim and provisional president and then to open that position and other leadership positions of the party to internal elections.

The professionals feel that this will add credibility and legitimacy to whoever wins, he said. On Pilot, Scindia and Priyanka Gandhi's names, he said "these are all very fine candidates, there may be more, my point is not about any specific candidate, but how do you arrive at that candidate". "If it is a small group of un-elected people choosing a person who is then not open to challenge, there may be some unnecessary resentment within the party. If they do choose a person quickly and give him or her the authority to work, but then subject them to an election by the party workers, I think it will be satisfying all the concerns," Tharoor told reporters.

Asserting that "lack of clarity" over leadership following Rahul Gandhi's resignation was hurting the Congress, Tharoor had last week said the way forward for the party could be opening up all key posts, including the CWC membership, to fresh elections which may help legitimise the incoming set of leaders. He had also backed Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh's assessment that a young leader would be more suitable to lead the Congress at this juncture.

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