While the last date for withdrawal of candidature is October 8, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor indicated that he is unlikely to pull out of the race, the results of which are seen as a foregone conclusion in favour of Kharge, regarded as the party’s “official” candidate.
Tharoor, however, said he had been informed by the Gandhi family that there is no “official” candidate and that they shall remain neutral through the poll process. “I had met with all three (Sonia, Rahul, and Priyanka)… They want a good and fair election. The Gandhi family will be neutral and the party machinery impartial,” Tharoor said in Nagpur.
Despite being the “outsider” facing the “establishment” nominee, Tharoor’s candidature was proposed by four Lok Sabha MPs — Md Javed, MK Raghavan, Karti Chidambaram and Pradyot Bordoloi — apart from Saifuddin Soz, Salman Anees Soz and Congress veteran Mohsina Kidwai. However, leaders of the G23 camp — Manish Tewari, Bhupinder Hooda, Prithviraj Chavan and Anand Sharma, among others — who had joined Tharoor in batting for internal reforms in Congress, backed Kharge instead.
Tharoor, however, referred to the election as a “friendly contest” between colleagues who are “appealing for support by putting forth our resolutions”. He also said that people may judge him as an underdog, he has never believed in running away from difficulties.
Withdrawal of nominations is allowed till October 8 and the final list of candidates will be out at 5 pm on the same day. Polling, if needed, will be held on October 17 and counting of votes will be taken up on October 19, when the results will also be declared.