Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor warned of growing discontent in the Congress over leadership crisis triggered by Rahul Gandhi's resignation as party chief following the debacle in national elections in May. Many leaders are upset privately and the party must "elect" a president soon not "select" one, he said.
Here are the Highlights of the interview:
Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on party leadership
- "No one can deny the need for fresh blood and that fresh blood is best emerging from the party itself."
- "If there is an open process, I am sure it will attract the best and brightest in the party."
- "Congress party is needed not just for Congress people but for Indian democracy's own health."
- "I'd suggest a process which actually elects a leader."
- "Instead of floating individual names, we should be talking about a process."
- "The fact that we haven't even got an interim president, is something that discredits the party in the eyes of its own colleagues."
- "I would want to vote for a younger person, it should come from a fair process and the choice should come from the party workers."
- "I am speaking out for the good of my party; I am not seeking any position in the party."
- "We have to wake up, smell the coffee and crack on. We cannot let this go on because the impression it conveys is one that undermines faith amongst who have been looking to us."
- "I am happy with my role in parliament, I don't have the organisational experience (to be party President), which Congress men far younger than me have acquired in the organization."
- "We need a (Congress) President who can inspire to pay attention to the Congress party again."
- "MPs are speaking out privately, it happens behind the doors; a lot of people came to me and said they were 100% behind what I said."
- "The aimlessness and drift has to be laid at the door of the present CWC because they are the ones that have been empowered to take a decision."
Shashi Tharoor on the collapse of Congress-JDS coalition in Karnataka
- "A confident (Congress) President could have prevented what happened in Karnataka."
- "We must have robust focus and on the ball leadership to respond to the destablising of our government in both states that we rule and which we don't," says Congress leader Shashi Tharoor.
Shashi Tharoor on the delay in choosing a new Congress chief
- "The fact that we don't have an interim President discredits the party."
- "I am speaking out because I got tired of colleagues saying their views to me, until unless someone bells the cat, we will continue doing this behind doors in hushed whispers."
Shashi Tharoor on a new party chief
- "There is a need for fresh blood, there's no denial."
- "The Gandhi family itself has said that they are ruling themselves out, a process that elects a leader is the way I would go."
- "If at the end of the process a Gandhi wins, it's better, but if someone else wins, whoever wins from this process will actually gain in credibility and legitimacy from being elected by a large number of party workers rather than being selected."