According to sources, Tharoor has written to Congress’s election authority chairman Madhusudan Mistry saying that the rolls should be made public since everybody should know who can nominate and who can vote.
The Thiruvananthapuram MP has joined a growing list of Congress leaders, such as party spokesperson Manish Tewari, Assam MP Pradyut Bordoloi and Sivaganga MP Karti Chidambaram, who have made similar demands recently.
Why the leaders want publication of electoral rolls
The demand that electoral rolls (list of electors) be made public comes just weeks ahead of the long-pending election for the AICC post, which is slated for October 17.
With interim president Sonia Gandhi and former president Rahul Gandhi not interested in holding the post, there is a strong buzz that a non-Gandhi leader could contest this time.
The nomination process for the election includes 10 proposers who are Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) delegates.
According to sources, Tharoor has said it is important to know about these delegates as papers can get rejected if their names do not feature in the final list.
” … I think it’s important that everybody should have transparency on the electoral rolls. If that’s what Manish has asked for, then I’m sure that it’s a principle that everybody would agree with. Everybody should know who can nominate and who can vote,” Tharoor, who has expressed his intent to contest the party’s presidential election, said at a function earlier.
He added there’s nothing wrong with what Tewari had said.
Tewari, who is among the G23 leaders along with Tharoor, has questioned Congress for not making public the names of electors for the party president polls and said it must be published on the All India Congress Committee website for a “free and fair” process.
Karti has supported the view, saying every election requires a well-defined electoral college.
Meanwhile, Mistry has maintained that the election is being held transparently and the entire poll process is free and fair.
He said earlier this week that according to the Congress’s constitution, the electoral roll cannot be made public, but it can be provided to anyone contesting the election.
Tharoor’s formal demand that the electoral rolls be made public comes amid strong speculation that he may contest the elections in October. The nomination process will begin on September 24.
It’s been a long-pending demand of various leaders in the Congress, especially the G-23, that a non-Gandhi leader should be at the helm of affairs.
The demand grew stronger after Congress suffered a series of defeats in state and national elections in the last few years under Sonia and Rahul.
Earlier, the Thiruvananthapuram MP said an election to the top Congress post “is good for the party”.
He said if an election is held for the Congress president’s post, it will help gather the attention of the people and the party’s style of functioning, ideology, values and its outlook for the country will again be discussed.
Tharoor urged many candidates to come forward and participate in the election.
Not just Tharoor, several other leaders had emerged as probables to replace the Gandhis. These included Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot and leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge.
However, both the leaders categorically said that they would back Rahul for the post.
With Tharoor keeping his options open, there is a likelihood that he may become the top challenger this time.
The last non-Gandhi president elected to the Congress top post was Sitaram Kesri who was at the helm of the party from 1996 to 1998.
Sonia replaced Kesri and served as the chief till 2017. She passed the baton to her son Rahul Gandhi, who led the party till 2019 but resigned after the drubbing in the Lok Sabha elections. Since then, Sonia has been serving as the party’s interim president.
(With inputs from agencies)