Tharoor, who met Sonia earlier on Monday, expressed his intention to contest for the elections, which are due in October.
Sonia welcomed the idea of more people contesting the polls and dispelled the notion that there would be an “official candidate”, they said.
The feedback by Gandhi on Tharoor’s desire to contest is being seen by many as an encouragement to him to contest and he could announce his candidature in the next few days.
With regard to Tharoor’s meeting with Gandhi and the speculation over it, the Congress said no one needs a nod to contest the presidential election as it is an open, democratic and transparent process.
“Anybody who wants to contest is free and welcome to do so. This has been the consistent position of Congress President and Shri Rahul Gandhi. This is an open, democratic and transparent process. Nobody needs anybody’s nod to contest,” AICC general secretary in-charge communications Jairam Ramesh said.
Tharoor, who is part of the vocal G-23 group of leaders, has been keen on contesting for the post ever since the elections were announced last month.
The Thiruvananthapuram MP also endorsed a petition on Monday by a group of young party members seeking “constructive reforms”.
The petition shared by Tharoor on Twitter sought reforms and a pledge by AICC president candidates to implement the Udaipur Declaration in entirety if elected. The former Union minister said it had been signed by over 650 people so far.
“I welcome this petition that is being circulated by a group of young @INCIndia members, seeking constructive reforms in the Party. It has gathered over 650 signatures so far. I am happy to endorse it & to go beyond it,” Tharoor tweeted with screenshots of the petition.
The petition that Tharoor endorsed said, “We are members of the Congress party with a desire to strengthen the party to reflect the hopes and aspirations of our nation.”
The petition stated some of the tenets of the Udaipur Declaration that was made on May 15, 2022, after the party’s brainstorming session.
“We appeal to each candidate in the election for the President of the All India Congress Committee 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 100 days of assuming office,” the petition said.
Chorus grows louder to bring Rahul back as Cong president
Notably, the development comes at a time when the chorus to bring Rahul Gandhi back at the helm of the party is growing louder in several state units.
Even though Rahul has expressed his intent not to contest for the elections, several seniors leaders have urged him to take up the post.
After Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Gujarat units of the Congress urged that Rahul be made the party chief, the Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Bihar units also passed resolutions on Monday.
While some political analysts see the passing of such resolutions as an initiative to reaffirm loyalty to the Gandhi family, others see it as a genuine attempt to convince Rahul Gandhi to take on the party reins.
When asked if he would become the Congress president earlier this month, Rahul had said, “Whether I become president or not, this will become very clear when the presidential elections of the Congress party take place.”
“Wait till that time and when that time comes, you will see, and if I don’t stand, you can ask me then ‘why didn’t you stand’ and I will answer the question for you,” he had told reporters at a press conference in Kanyakumari.
He, however, had asserted that he had “very clearly” decided what he was going to do. “There is no confusion in my mind at all.”
In case Rahul Gandhi does not contest, the contest now could be between Tharoor and Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot, who is also being seen as a front-runner for the post.
It has been over two decades since a non-Gandhi leader has led the party.
The notification for the Congress president’s election will be out on September 22 and the process for filing nominations will be held from September 24 to 30.
The last date for withdrawal of nominations is October 8 and the election, if required, will be held on October 17. The results will be out on October 19.
(With inputs from PTI)