Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor has written to the party’s central election authority chairman Madhusudan Mistry, seeking the publication of electoral roll for the upcoming poll to the post of AICC president, sources said on Friday. Assam MP Pradyut Bordoloi too has reportedly written to Mistry, asking him to make the electoral roll public.
Their letters come as voices demanding the publication of the electors’ list grow louder by the day and a debate within the party intensifies.
The nomination process includes ten proposers who are Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) delegates. According to the sources, the senior leader has said it is important to know about these delegates as papers can get rejected if their names do not feature in the final list.
Asked about the letters written by the leaders and the voices seeking publication of the electoral roll growing louder, the Congress downplayed it and said voices have been rising one after the other that Rahul Gandhi should be the next party president. “If you ask every worker from every corner of the country, whether in private or in public, while drinking tea or having food, he will say the same thing, it is our desire that Rahul Gandhi should take up the Congress president’s post,” party spokesperson Gourav Vallabh said, while adding that, “The election schedule of the Congress is before everyone. I assure you that the election for the president will be conducted according to the systems in place in accordance with the Congress’s constitution.”
On Wednesday, Manish Tewari and Karti Chidambaram, along with Tharoor, had demanded that the electoral roll be made public to ensure transparency. Tewari, one of the “Group of 23” (G-23) leaders seeking large-scale party reforms along with Tharoor, has raised objections to the Congress not making public the names of the electors for the polls to elect the next party president and said the list must be published on the All India Congress Committee (AICC) website for a “free and fair” process. Another MP Karti Chidambaram had supported the view, saying every poll requires a well-defined electoral college.
Tharoor, who has expressed his intent to contest the election, had agreed with Tewari and said everyone should know who can nominate and who can vote. “I think it is important that everybody should have transparency on the electoral roll. If that is what Manish has asked for, then I am sure that it is a principle that everybody would agree with. Everybody should know who can nominate and who can vote. There is nothing wrong with that,” the former Union minister had said at a function in Thiruvananthapuram, his Lok Sabha constituency.
Mistry, however, has maintained that the election is being held transparently and the entire poll process is free and fair. He had said earlier this week that according to the party’s constitution, the electoral roll cannot be made public, but it can be provided to anyone contesting the election. Congress MP Manickam Tagore has countered the leaders demanding the publication of the electoral roll, saying they must not create confusion and should be proud of the “open system”.
The notification for the Congress president’s election will be out on 22 September, and the process for filing nominations will be held from 24 to 30 September. Last date for withdrawal of nominations is 8 October and the election, if required, will be held on 17 October. The results will be out on 19 October.