Shashi Tharoor, who is running for Congress President, has clarified on his recent comments that some people in the party were assuming that there’s an official candidate. It was seen as alluding to Mallikarjun Kharge, the other candidate in the Congress President election, which is being closely watched by party insiders as well as the public since whoever wins will become a non-Gandhi party chief in over two decades.
“Kharge sir is my leader too. We are not enemies. I am the candidate of change in Congress,” Mr Tharoor said in Assam’s Guwahati, where he came to gather support for his candidature.
“People who supported me are not rebel or against the Gandhis…This is a wrong notion. The Gandhis are always with the Congress, so are we. We are contesting the election with the spirit that whoever wins this elections, it will be a victory of the Congress,” Mr Tharoor said, indicating a conciliatory approach.
Mr Tharoor at an NDTV town hall on October 9 had said he had always expected there would be a senior candidate and senior leaders would rally around him. “That’s apparent with his [Mr Kharge’s] nomination form and the signatures there and his campaign trail. Wherever he goes, there are veterans around him. But wherever I am going, there are simple citizens,” Mr Tharoor had told NDTV.
“Under a new [party] President, the Congress will again work for the people of India as for decades it has done under every [party] President. One of the main tasks of the new President is to reach out to other parties for 2024 [national election]. Our first test will be on creating a new national alliance,” Mr Tharoor said.
Among the steps he would take if he is elected Congress chief, Mr Tharoor said he would try to stop Congress leaders from quitting and joining the rival BJP. “This will be a key issue that I will handle if I am elected President,” the Congress MP from Kerala’s Thiruvananthapuram said.
“There is amazing support for me from younger leaders and workers in the party, but yes, older leader are with Mr Kharge,” he added.