After throwing a surprise by contesting the Congress presidential polls, and getting over 1,000 votes, despite his detractors’ dismissal of his chances, to cause further heartburns to the the “official” AICC faction led by K.C. Venugopal, Shashi Tharoor is in the news again and there is talk of his inclusion in the Congress Working Committee (CWC) – the party’s highest decision-making body.
There are 23 seats in the CWC comprising of 12 elected members and 11 nominated by the President.
The talks are gaining traction as on Wednesday, the party’s first non-Gandhi family President in over two decades, Malikarjuna Kharge will take the top seat at the AICC headquarters in Delhi.
Tharoor, though a hat trick winner to the Lok Sabha from the prestigious Thiruvananthapuram constituency, is yet to get any sort of acceptance from the party leaders allied to the Gandhi family, including from home state Kerala, notwithstanding that he enjoys a huge acceptance, especially from the youth, the intelligentsia, and from women segment. Hence, there is an active social media campaign seeking that he should get a place in the CWC.
In the outgoing AICC, former Union Minister A.K. Antony and two-time former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy find a place and today both are not in the perfect state of health and hence it is debatable if they will find a place in the new scheme of things under Kharge.
In the running for the CWC posts include Lok Sabha member Kodikunnil Suresh, a seven time Lok Sabha member and one from the Scheduled Caste community and is known for his allegiance to the Gandhi family. Even after Kharge had won the elections, he opined that Tharoor should have not contested.
Senior Congress leader and former Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala is another one who is eager to go up in the party hierarchy as he, despite after being getting majority support for the post of Leader of Opposition he held from 2016-21, saw the post go to V.D. Satheesan after Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan retained office at the 2021 polls.
Another person who thinks he is the right candidate is son of legendary K. Karunakaran – K. Muraleedharan, who off late has been backing all what the high command has been doing and any leader who speaks against the interests of the AICC is immediately attacked by him.
Those close to Tharoor expects that none can overlook Tharoor and his capabilities and the value that he would bring to the AICC.
But many also know that, he might not get the nod because if he does get in, could create difficulties for Kharge and also for the Gandhi family, who, many feel, would still be running the affairs of the party through “remote control”.
Hence all eyes are on the ordination day of Kharge and on how Tharoor will be treated at the function on Wednesday.