'If content, choose Kharge': Shashi Tharoor on crucial Congress contest
Congress members are set to pick their next party president in about two weeks from now.
Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Saturday yet again insisted that his contest against senior party colleague Mallikarjun Kharge “is not a battle” in the presidential elections of the grand old party, due in two weeks. Tharoor and Kharge filed their nominations on Friday for the crucial polls - scheduled for October 17 - after days of controversy over the infighting in Rajasthan.
“This is not a war. We can belong to different schools of thoughts. Let the members decide,” Tharoor told news agency ANI in an interview on Saturday. “All I am telling the members is that if you’re satisfied with the functioning of the party, please vote for Kharge Sahab. But if you want a change, choose me.. If you want the party to function differently.”
His comments came amid buzz over the Gandhis backing 80-year-old Kharge for the top party post. Kharge on Saturday resigned as the leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha, a day after more than 30 leaders backed his candidature - which came as a surprise on the last day of nomination. On the contrast, Shashi Tharoor was not accompanied by so many senior leaders.
“But there is no ideological problem here. Whatever the message has so far of the Congress will continue to remain," Shashi Tharoor said on Saturday, dismissing any differences.
While the Gandhis have clarified they would not be contesting for the top post anymore, there has still been criticism over their leadership. On the relevance of the family for the party, amid the BJP's dynastic politics claims, Tharoor said: “From the times of (Pt Jawaharlal) Nehru, the Congress has been playing a crucial role. And hence the Gandhi family is important. No party president is foolish enough to bid goodbye to the Gandhis.”
The Congress is set to contest its next chief on October 17, and the results will be out two days later. Among the many challenges facing the new president would be the upcoming state polls and the 2024 national elections.
(With inputs from ANI)