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Cong president poll: “Friendly contest, no rivalry” says Shashi Tharoor on Digvijaya Singh nomination

When asked about the candidature of senior party leader Mallikarjun Kharge, who according to sources will be in the contest, Tharoor said that more candidates for contesting the better it will be for the party.

ANI | New Delhi |

Ahead of filing his nomination for the Congress president election, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor on Friday said that there is no “no rivalry” among party leaders who are in the fray adding that it is a “friendly contest”.

“We all share the same ideology, values and ideals. We want the party to be strengthened. It is a friendly contest, no rivalry,” Tharoor said while speaking to the reporters here today. “I’m going to be filing at noon. You’ll see me at 24, Akbar Road,” the Thiruvananthapuram MP said.

When asked about the candidature of senior party leader Mallikarjun Kharge, who according to sources will be in the contest, Tharoor said that more candidates for contesting the better it will be for the party.

“I only see speculation (of Kharge contesting). He’s also a very respected colleague, we worked together in Lok Sabha. It will be good to have more people in the fray. From the beginning, I have said, the more candidates, the better,” Tharoor said.

Ahead of filing his nomination, Tharoor also offered prayers on the occasion of the fifth day of Navaratri and paid a visit to Raj Ghat to pay his homage to Mahatma Gandhi.

When asked if there are chances that he will pull out from the race the Congress MP denied the possibility.

Earlier this morning, ahead of filing the nomination, Digvijaya Singh, who is also in the fray, arrived at the residence of Kharge in the national capital.

Nominations for the post of Congress president close at 3 pm today and results will be declared on October 19.

With the Gandhis not running for the top post this time around, the grand old party is all set to get a non-Gandhi president after over 25 years.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot was being seen as a frontrunner in the race before he opted to pull out after meeting with Sonia Gandhi on Thursday.

Addressing media persons in the national capital after the meeting Gehlot said that he had apologised to her for the scenario emerging in the state triggered by his loyalists.

On Thursday, after announcing his decision to contest in party polls, veteran Congress leader Digvijaya Singh said that the Nehru-Gandhi family will remain their leader irrespective of who becomes the president of the party.

According to sources, Manish Tewari, a face of the G-23 group of leaders (those seeking reforms in the party) is also mulling filing the nomination for the top post.

G-23 leaders Thursday evening met at the residence of Anand Sharma. Former union minister Manish Tewari, former Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda were present at the meeting.

According to sources, the leaders discussed the situation emerging in the run-up to the polls. The leaders will meet again.

“Nobody has filed a nomination yet. Once it is done, there will be contemplation. The democratic process has begun. BS Hooda, Anand Sharma, Prithviraj Chavan and I sat for deliberation and discussed events,” Manish Tewari said while leaving Anand Sharma’s residence.

Asked whether G-23 will support candidates whose names have come for Congress presidential poll so far, Tewari said, “Days pass between collecting, filing and withdrawing nomination papers. The decision will be taken at that time. In English, it is called in politics ‘it is the preponderance of probabilities’. Let us see what happens tomorrow.”

The G-23 leaders had written to Congress interim chief Sonia Gandhi seeking organisational overhaul and internal elections at all levels.

“It is good that polls are being held in the party in a democratic way. We thanked Sonia Gandhi for the free-fair polls. Let us see who will file the nomination. We have heard a few names. We will support the best candidate in the field,” Prithviraj Chavan told ANI.