By the rules of logic and by democratic convention, Shashi Tharoor should be the man to lead the Indian National Congress in the times ahead. There is suavity in him, the degree of urbanity which India and especially the Congress are in intense requirement of today.
It then follows that if the party of Gandhi and Nehru wishes to have its credibility and of course its place in Indian national politics restored, it will be Tharoor to whom it should turn.
There are other reasons why Shashi Tharoor should take charge of the Congress.
He happens to be a profoundly intellectual figure whose writings, both in terms of newspaper op-eds and books (read here Inglorious Empire, An Era of Darkness and Nehru: The Invention of India) have consistently given readers, in India and elsewhere, good food for thought.
His ideas have always been expressed in dispassionate manner, in all the civility they come couched in.
The Congress will be fortunate to have Tharoor take charge of it, for the good reason that he has not held himself back from demonstrating his independence in the inner councils of the party.
Where a whole army of Congress politicians are lining up behind the candidacy of Mallikarjun Kharge for the presidency of the party, because Kharge and all of them are not yet willing to free themselves of loyalty --- and in certain instances sycophancy --- to the Gandhi family, Tharoor has all along made it obvious that he is his own man.
That is a quality and that is the kind of leader the Congress, reduced as it has been to a poor shadow of its earlier glorious self under the Sonia-Rahul-Priyanka family, is in serious need of.
Tharoor, a former under secretary general of the United Nations who once came pretty close to heading the global body and who has served in a Congress-led government as minister of state for external affairs, is fundamentally the international face of the Congress and surely a voice of reasoned sophistication for India in the wider world.
His eloquence in debate, be it before the Oxford Union or the Lok Sabha, has been illustrative of the sheer brilliance of the man.
Tharoor has spurned Kharge's suggestion that the Congress presidency question be settled through consensus, meaning the latter's desire to have the prize come to himself without question.
But note that when Tharoor turned down Kharge's proposal, he did it in the interest, as he put it wisely, of a democratic election.
It may well be that with all those Nehru-Gandhi acolytes making a beeline for Kharge's door, Tharoor will lose the election. Or it could be that a miracle, a rarity these days, could happen to put Tharoor over the top.
Shashi Tharoor's decision to go for the Congress presidency is in very many ways a reflection of the degree to which the party has slipped in public standing.
That the Nehru-Gandhis now clearly belong in the past and that the Congress is in huge need of reinvention is a message the Tharoor candidacy conveys in all its eloquence.
It is a message the Congress, including all those who yet find it hard to strike out on a course independent of their long and exasperating support for the Sonia-Rahul-Priyanka team, ought to heed.
A failure to do that will condemn the party to many more years in the political wilderness.
'ThinkTomorrowThinkTharoor' is the message Indians across the board, and not just in the Congress, should be hearing.
Tharoor's invitation to Kharge to a public debate on the issues, in a style reminiscent of Western democracies, is indicative of the modernization he means to have the Congress adopt.
That the party leadership should no longer be decided by a family or behind closed doors is the theme underlining the Tharoor candidacy.
In a region --- and we refer of course to South Asia --- where democracy within political parties has been on the back foot for decades, Shashi Tharoor's candidacy for the leadership of the Indian National Congress is a broad hint of the courage and the energy and the conviction so necessary in politicians for politics to be restored to its proper place, both in political organisations and at the level of the state.
Shashi Tharoor's message is without ambiguity: dynastic leadership in a political party slowly and painfully pushes the party to atrophy and then to irrelevance.