The answer to chaos within the Congress is decentralisation, Shashi Tharoor said right after filing his nomination today for Party President today. Speaking to reporters, he explained his vision for the Congress as head of the party. "I will change the party high command culture," he said.
Identifying the practice of "constantly referring things up to Delhi" as a problem, he said the party cannot have someone passing resolutions in one sentence saying that the Congress President will decide.
Part of the 'G-23' dissidents who had written to Sonia Gandhi demanding internal polls and steady leadership, Mr Tharoor was the first to throw his hat in the ring for the party's top post.
Calling Mallikarjun Kharge, the "official" Gandhis backed candidate, a candidate of continuity, he said he will bring fresh perspective and approach.
Mr Kharge has been endorsed by most of the senior leadership, including by several G-23 leaders. Rajasthan Chief Minister and the party high command's initial pick for the top post Ashok Gehlot has said "all senior leaders" back Mr Kharge.
"I am not surprised that the establishment is rallying behind those who represent status quo. If you want change and progress in the party, then you vote for me," he said, adding that he plans to empower people working at the grassroots.
Shashi Tharoor has clarified that he has no bad blood with Mallikarjun Kharge. Calling him "Bhishma Pitamah of the Congress," he added, "we are not rivals, we are colleagues".
"The party is not looking for a consensus candidate. I have spoken to the party workers and have brought the idea of decentralisation to the fore," he said.
Shashi Tharoor said he has met all the three Gandhis and that they have assured him that the contest will strengthen the party.
Outlining his vision, he said he aims to rejuvenate the party, reimagine the leadership, reiterate the core ideology, broaden participation, focus on youth, and return to an ethos of politics of social work.
In an interview with NDTV, Mr Tharoor revealed today that Sonia Gandhi told him "you are most welcome to contest" and that there would be no "official candidate" as her family would stay neutral.
The Congress MP also asserted that he is not the G-23 candidate for the election, the party's first in over 20 years.
"I need the backing of 9,100 people, not 23. I am not the candidate of the G-23. It is a myth, there is no such thing," he said.