New Delhi [India]: Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Saturday drew an analogy between the Gandhi family and the DNA of the party and said that no party chief can distance himself from the Gandhi family, asserting that he is contesting the party’s presidential elections to bring a ” change” in the grand old party.
He called the family an asset to the party and said that no matter who becomes the Congress president after the party’s internal polls on October 17, he cannot be “such a fool” to tell “goodbye” to the Gandhi family.
Speaking before embarking on his visit to various parts of the country to campaign for the party polls, Tharoor said, “Gandhi family and Congress’ DNA is the same…No (party) president is such a fool to tell “Goodbye” to Gandhi family. They are a huge asset to us”.
Reiterating that he represents a “change” in the party twice within 24 hours of filing his nomination at the AICC office in the national capital on Friday, the Congress leader said that if the party leaders and workers are “satisfied” with the “working of the party”, they should vote for Mallikarjun Kharge, who is his opponent in the race to the top post in the party.
Tharoor stressed that the contest between him and Kharge is “not a battle” and it should be left upon the Congress workers to choose between the duo.
“This isn’t a battle…Let party workers choose, that’s our message. I’m saying that if you’re satisfied with the party’s working, vote for Kharge sahab. If you want a change, I’m there. But there’s no ideological problem. There will not be any change in the message of the Congress party,” he said.
Noting that all the decisions are being taken by the Central leadership in the party, Tharoor emphasised on giving rights to the lower levels of the organisation to take decisions.
“All the decisions are being taken in New Delhi these days/ It would be good for the party if the rights to take decisions are given to the grassroots at the levels of the blocks, Zilla and states,” he said.
Notably, in the manifesto released by Tharoor soon after filing his nomination, he mentioned the need for “decentralisation” in the party.
Talking about his decision to run for the party’s top post, he said that he intended to contest when the election was announced, which was backed by the party workers.
“The internal democracy that we are showing is not present in any other party. When the election was announced, I had the intention (to contest). I wrote an article, stating that the election is good for party&mentioned its reasons,” he said.
“After that several people, ordinary workers told me to contest the poll. I started thinking and talking to people…I just want the party to strengthen and that I become a voice of the changes within the party and show its different face to people,” Tharoor added.
Tharoor and Kharge are up against each other in the race for the post of Congress president.
Digvijaya Singh pulled out from the race yesterday and extended his support to Kharge, who he said is a senior and respected leader of the party, and against whom he “cannot think of contesting”.
Singh is the second Congress leader to pull out of the race after Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot announced he would not contest the elections following the political turmoil in his state.
With the Gandhis not running for the top post, the grand old party is all set to get a non-Gandhi president after over 25 years.
The results of the party polls will be declared on October 19.