Appeal on Congress chief poll wants candidates to pledge they will avoid hard, soft religious lines


New Delhi: Former minister Shashi Tharoor on Monday endorsed an appeal which a section of party members have been circulating within the organisation demanding contestants for the post of party chief to publicly pledge against following hard or soft religious lines.

Tharoor is also a potential candidate for the upcoming election to the post of Congress president.

According to the appeal, the contestants should also promise to ensure term limits for electoral and party positions to create space for newer people, as decided at the Udaipur Chintan Shivir held in May.

The document in circulation and titled, ‘Appeal to candidates for the president of All India Congress Committee,’ reminds contestants that the Congress Working Committee adopted the Udaipur Nav Sankalp declaration on May 15 this year and resolved to follow Gandhian values with strict adherence to Babasaheb Ambedkar‘s constitutional values and uphold the idea of secular India, provide reservation to increase the representation of women, Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Classes and minorities in party positions and electoral tickets, and ensuring 50 per cent place in party tickets and positions to leaders below 50 years apart from other things.

“We appeal to each candidate in the election for the president of AICC to undertake a public pledge to involve party members from block committees up to the CWC and implement the Udaipur declaration in entirety within the first hundred days of assuming office,” the appeal to potential candidates for the Congress Chief election reads.

The appeal also says that the Udaipur declaration promised one person one post, one family one ticket rule to open up space for new people and a promise to build a fair, just and equitable economy to remove extreme poverty and bring prosperity to all sections of society.

“These are just a few of the broad principles of the declaration. The full declaration includes many more important resolutions including creating Sadbhavana Mission to foster harmony and leadership mission to build future leaders from among deprived sections,” the appeal said.

Tharoor is the first Congress leader to welcome the appeal publicly. He is a member of the G23 group that was the first to seek reforms and flag that the party’s decision to ally with Muslim hard liners in Bengal and Kerala cost it big in the elections.

Congress was wiped off in Bengal and in Kerala, the Left Front government returned bucking anti-incumbency trends.