Jaipur (Rajasthan) [India]: Amid the claims and counter-claims by Congress presidential candidates Shashi Tharoor and Mallikarjun Kharge in the run-up to the party polls, Ashok Gehlot has extended support to the latter stating that he will “make the party stronger as Opposition”.
The remarks by Rajasthan Chief Minister Gehlot came after Shashi Tharoor claimed an “uneven playing field” and “differential treatment” from the party leaders. Refuting his claims, Mallikarjun Kharge, who is up against the Thiruvananthapuram MP in the party president polls scheduled to be held on October 17, claimed that there are no differences between the two leaders. Gehlot, in a self-made video on Thursday, said that such a personality should be elected as the party president who is capable of talking to the Opposition leaders calling it the “need of the hour”.
“Mallikarjun Kharge is an experienced leader of the party with a rich personality. The person who has won nine Assembly elections and two Lok Sabha elections, he was also the Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha. He gained so much experience in over 50 years of life. He who has a long experience at the Centre, Assembly, or Lok Sabha should become the Congress president. Along with it, he has a connection with the leaders and a stature today to talk to the Opposition leaders, which is the need of the hour,” Gehlot said.
He said that the fight is against the NDA and the Opposition leaders have to fight together, and therefore there should be a personality who is capable of fighting along with the Opposition parties.
“Because the fight is against the NDA which all the Opposition leaders have to fight together. There should be a personality who has the capability to fight along with all the parties. I hope that the delegates will make him emerge victorious with a huge majority. And he will guide all of us after winning. He will make the party stronger as the Opposition. This is my thinking,” he said.
Gehlot also extended his best wishes to Kharge and hoped for his emphatic win.
“I hope all the delegates will make Mallikarjun Kharge win with a huge majority. He will guide all of us after his success and the Congress will emerge stronger as the opposition. This is my thinking, my best wishes. May Kharge sahib be successful with huge votes,” Gehlot tweeted.
Notably, Shashi Tharoor and Mallikarjun Kharge are up against each other in the race for the post of Congress President.
Meanwhile, Tharoor, addressing a press conference on Thursday, said, “We are contesting elections. There is no spirit of enmity in our party. Kharge Sahab is my senior leader and I have worked closely with him. The election is about two colleagues seeing how to work to strengthen the party.”
On his “uneven playing field” remark, Congress presidential candidate Tharoor said, “…In several PCCs, leaders welcomed and met Kharge Sahab. The same was not done for me. I visited PCCs but PCC chiefs were not available. I am not complaining, but do you not see a difference in treatment?”
Reacting to Congress leader Shashi Tharoor’s “uneven playing field” remark, Kharge said, “…We are brothers. Someone can speak in a different manner. I can do it in a different way. There are no differences between us… Shashi Tharoor and I are from the same family that is Congress, instead of complaining to each other we would rather complain to Narendra Modi and Amit Shah regarding inflation, unemployment and other issues”.
“I am a candidate of delegates. Leaders-delegates together fielded me as a candidate…dragging the Gandhi family’s name, I feel, is BJP’s conspiracy to defame them and some people are encouraging it. I condemn this. They said anybody can contest,” he added.