Cong prez election: Support for 'official' candidate a departure from party way, says Tharoor

Shashi Tharoor speaks to reporters in Thiruvananthapuram. Photo: Manorama

Thiruvananthapuram: With the old guard of Congress in Kerala pledging their support for Mallikarjun Kharge, his fellow candidate Shashi Tharoor pointed out that there is no 'official' and 'unofficial' candidate in the upcoming AICC presidential election.

Speaking to reporters here in Thiruvananthapuram, Tharoor maintained that the Congress high command has made it clear that this is going to be a neutral election. "There is no official candidate for the Congress party," Tharoor said, adding that the whole idea was a perception created by the media.

"If leaders are saying that there is indeed an official candidate, and if they are taking to social media or other public platforms to declare their support for this candidate, then it is a far departure from the Congress stance, the party's way," Tharoor said. "It is embarrassing," the Thiruvananthapuram MP added.

His latest comment came after Vadakara MP K Muraleedharan declared his support for Kharge saying his Lok Sabha colleague from Thurivananthapuram lacked connection with the masses.

"It could be because of the circumstances in which he was brought up. We can't blame him for that," Muraleedharan said addressing a press meet in Thiruvananthapuram.

Tharoor, before his stint in politics, was a diplomat and writer.

"My love is for Tharoor and votes for Kharge," Muraleedharan said, adding that Tharoor will have his position in the party. "The party needs people from all walks of life, including the common man."

However, Tharoor said to revamp the grand old party, which has suffered several defeats these past years, it needs a free and fair election. "There is no other way. We have always stressed this - a free and fair election. It's what is necessary," Tharoor said. "There are many disgruntled party workers in Congress. I aim to get their voices heard," Tharoor added.

He also pointed out that because the votes are cast in secret, he expects stronger support than what is apparent at the moment.

Earlier, KPCC president K Sudhakaran, opposition leader V D Satheesan, and senior leaders Oommen Chandy and Ramesh Chennithala had rallied behind Kharge who is said to be enjoying the undeclared support of the Gandhi family.

A few young leaders including KS Sabarinadhan, Hibi Eden and Mathew Kuzhalnadan have extended support to Tharoor.

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