CHENNAI: Congress presidential candidate Shashi Tharoor on Thursday declared that discussion would happen with the Gandhis after the party presidential election on the roles they are comfortable with.
Talking to media persons at Kamarajar memorial at Guindy in the city, Tharoor who was here to muster support for his candidature, said, “I am sure that discussions with them are going to be important for any (Congress) president. Discussions to see what kind of roles they are comfortable with. After all, if they wanted to continue running the party, it would have been very easy for them to do so.”
Remarking that the Congress Working Committee would have welcomed it if Rahul had withdrawn his resignation earlier (in 2019), Tharoor said, ”But, he did not do it. We have to ask him what exactly he would like to do.”
Asked if the ‘comfortable’ role would be the choice of the Gandhis, Tharoor said, “There will have to be mutual discussion and accommodation. That is how any mature, constructive and cooperative relationship must be constructed.”
On the role of Gandhis negating the change he proposes to usher in, he said, “I stand by what I said. They are indispensable. Their blood literally has been mixed with the Congress DNA for a century now. As a result, a lot of people in the length and breadth of the country have a strong sense of allegiance and love for the Gandhi family, which also animates their commitment to the party. It would be a very foolish president who would want to throw away the attention and inspiration that a leader is able to attract from the general public.”
“We need to be able to add to the current appeal and other elements that would take us beyond the 19% the Congress party had won in 2014 and 2019 and take us to a higher position in 2024. That is the ambition, ” he added.
Asked about striking a balance between accommodating the Gandhis and engineering change, he said, “The idea is to precisely do this in a constructive and cooperative way. Whoever wins this election, the real victory we want is the victory of the Congress party. The Congress must win. The congress winning is the question of everyone in Congress feeling empowered, positive, committed. For that we all need to stay together. There is Bharat jodo and Congress jodo. Keeping everyone together in the party and fighting the forces ruling the country.”
Stating that he wants Congress to be a party of young India and represent its dreams and aspirations, he said that he was very happy to have the support of young people and the seniors of the party, for the most part, have stayed, as it were, with the establishment.
On his support in the North, he said, “We are talking to people in the north on the phone. The messages we are getting are very encouraging. We are seeing a groundswell of support across the board for the campaign for change.”
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