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Ashok or Shashi? Who will finally wear the garland of victory as the president of one of India's oldest political parties, The Congress?

The helmsman of Congress: Shashi or Ashok?

By : Niaz Mahmud Sakib
Published : Sep 22, 2022 07:32:00 PM | World

Remarkable changes await in the leadership of one of the oldest active political parties operating in Indian politics, The Congress. After decades, somebody whose origin is not from the Gandhi family is now about to take charge of the party as the president.

Sitaram Keshari was the party's last president with a different origin rather a Gandhi family member. Sonia Gandhi took over from Keshri in 1998, precisely two years after the Narasimha Rao-led government was ousted from power and Keshri was operating. And then history is pretty well known to the Indians and the world communities. Sonia Gandhi led the party as the president of Congress for 19 years.

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In 2017, she handed over the responsibility to his son Rahul Gandhi. Rahul resigned in 2019, While the party enjoyed defeat in the general election consecutively twice.

Ashok Gehlot, a loyalist of the Gandhi family, and Shashi Tharoor, a reformist, are currently in the race for the Congress party presidency. So far, these two names have been howling in the air. And this party election is supposed to be held on October 17.

However, apparently, all may see that there is nobody from the Gandhi family. But deep inside, beneath the surface, Rahul Gandhi will act as one of the impactful members of the advisory panel, following Priyanka Gandhi's statement.

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And just owing to this statement, Ashok Gehlot previously showed apathy towards being a candidate. The 71-year-old senior prudent Congress leader is well aware that even if he becomes the Congress president, he may have to work at the behest of Sonia-Rahul.

Nevertheless, they are at high risk of losing the throne of Rajsthan and may anyway to the opposition leader Sachin Pilot. Consequently, he managed to follow nothing but Sonia Gandhi's guidelines. This leader, who has been involved in Congress politics since his student days, had no way but to agree.

Ashok has been the Chief Minister of Rajasthan for three terms since 1998. However, he wants to retain the Chief Ministership and become the Congress President simultaneously. If that's not how the whole event may end up, then at least his wish is to leave the chief ministership to somebody loyal and worthy. 

During the liberation war of Bangladesh, Ashok is claimed to have visited different refugee camps in West Bengal and Tripura and indulged himself in distributing relief. He also mobilized the Indian mass to stand by the refugees. At that time, Ashok managed to grab the attention of then-Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. Since then, he never needed to look back on the errand of politics.

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Former Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor is also undoubtedly a strong candidate for the position of Congress president. Shashi Tharoor, the 66 years old prudent politician who worked as the UN Secretary, has been active in politics for less than a decade and owns a vast knowledge of ministerial affairs.

Shashi Tharoor wrote in different publishing houses across India and the globe, and his clean image in the international arena impacted millions. He is also the inventor of several English words, disputably. Deependra, son of former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupendra Hooda, recently met Congress supremo Sonia Gandhi and Delhi Congress leader Jaiprakash Agarwal.

According to a Congress source, Tharoor sought Sonia's permission to appear in the presidential election and put a contest on the court of Ashok. Sonia gave him the 'green signal' too. The Congress leader said that

"no candidate had been decided yet, and there would be voting for the position of president."

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Ashok or Shashi? We will have to wait till October 19 to find out who will finally wear the garland of victory as the president of one of India's oldest political parties, The Congress.