Shashi Tharoor Won’t Campaign In Gujarat, Wasn’t Part Of Key Party List

Mr Tharoor was “never on the star campaigners’ list earlier”, party sources said.

New Delhi:

Congress leader Shashi Tharoor won’t campaign in Gujarat for next month’s election after being left out of the list of the party’s star campaigners.

Shashi Tharoor was invited by the Congress’ student body to campaign in Gujarat, but he opted out since he was not on the list, sources said.

The Congress has denied “sidelining” Mr Tharoor, who ran for party president last month but predictably lost to Gandhis-backed Mallikarjun Kharge.

The Thiruvananthapuram MP was “never on the star campaigners’ list earlier”, party sources said. Mr Tharoor was last named as a star campaigner in Kerala, his home state, in 2021.

Sources close to Mr Tharoor said he was never asked to campaign, so there is no question of opting out. “The Congress student body asked but since he’s not on the list, he could not go,” the sources said.

New Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, his predecessors Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi, and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, are on the list of 40 star campaigners for Gujarat, which will vote on December 1 and 5.

The Congress’ campaign has been listless so far in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state, where the BJP has been in power for over 27 years. Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has campaigned aggressively to try and replace the Congress as the BJP’s main rival in the state.

Rahul Gandhi, who is leading the party’s Bharat Jodo Yatra, has not campaigned till now, either in Gujarat or Himachal Pradesh, which voted on November 12.

Ashok Gehlot and Bhupesh Baghel, the chief ministers of Congress-ruled Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, are also on the list.

The Congress’s list includes another Kerala leader, Ramesh Chennithala, besides former chief ministers Digvijaya Singh, Kamal Nath, Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Ashok Chavan.