The reported move of Shashi Tharoor to contest the Congress presidential poll did not go down well with the party in Kerala with a senior leader on Tuesday terming it a personal decision of the Thiruvananthapuram MP and another one making it clear that the state unit would vote only for those who recognise the prominence of the Nehru family.
Kodikunnil Suresh and K Muraleedharan, two Lok Sabha colleagues of Tharoor from the state, indirectly made their displeasure over the reported move on the sidelines of the Bharat Jodo Yatra here.
Both MPs also made it clear that the state unit wanted Rahul Gandhi to take up the top party post.
"If he is not willing to take up the position, a person acceptable to the AICC and the majority of leaders and workers should come to that post. That is the wish of the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee and all of us," Suresh told reporters here.
A seven-time member of the Lok Sabha, Suresh said as far as Tharoor's candidature was concerned, the decision to contest was taken by himself and it was yet to be clear whether he had made any deliberations at the party level in this regard.
So, Tharoor's contest in the party president poll is not viewed as a "serious contest", he said.
As far as the party is concerned, the precedent was to choose a person who is acceptable to the majority of party leaders and workers, Suresh, also a former union minister, said.
The poll to the top post was intended for that and if there is any election, the person who gathers the most number of votes would be the president.
"So, I think, Tharoor's contest will not create any crisis in the party," Suresh, who represents Mavelikara constituency in the Lok Sabha, added.
Meanwhile, senior party leader and Vadakara MP, Muraleedharan said the state party would vote only for those who recognise the prominence of the Nehru family.
Expressing his desire for Rahul Gandhi to take up the party chief post, he said the Nehru scion's unwillingness to accept the top position was a cause of worry for everyone.
"There is no dispute among anyone that Rahul Gandhi should come and take up the post. But, it is up to him whether to accept the post or not," the former KPCC chief said.
The leader said a clear picture about the Congress president poll can be known on September 30 and the Yatra would cross the state's borders the next day.
"Anyway, we will cast our votes only for those who recognise the prominence of the Nehru family," Muraleedharan added.
After over two decades, the Congress is likely to see a contest for the post of party chief with Shashi Tharoor looking set to enter the fray after his meeting with Sonia Gandhi and Ashok Gehlot being seen as the other contender.
Tharoor on Monday met Sonia Gandhi and expressed his intention to contest the upcoming AICC president polls, while the Congress chief conveyed that she would stay "neutral" in the elections, according to sources.
The upcoming polls would certainly be historic as the new president would replace Sonia Gandhi, the longest-serving party chief who has been at the helm since 1998, barring the two years between 2017 and 2019 when Rahul Gandhi took over.
The process for filing of nominations for the election will be 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.