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This article was first published 1 year ago  » News » Kharge's victory is a victory of Congress: Tharoor

Kharge's victory is a victory of Congress: Tharoor

Source: PTI   -  Edited By: Utkarsh Mishra
Last updated on: October 19, 2022 23:10 IST
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As Mallikarjun Kharge was elected Congress president, his electoral rival Shashi Tharoor on Wednesday said he had pitched himself as the candidate of change and not of dissent, while asserting that the revival of the party has truly begun.

IMAGE: Congress leader Shashi Tharoor speaks during a press conference in New Delhi after losing party's presidential elections. Photograph: Ravi Choudhary/PTI Photo

Addressing a press conference hours after his defeat, Tharoor also urged Congress president-elect Kharge to implement that provision of the Congress constitution that calls for elections to the Congress Working Committee.

The Congress presidential election has energised party workers to take on the challenge the Bharatiya Janata Party poses in upcoming elections, said Tharoor, who got 1,072 votes against Kharge's 7,897.

"This is not an issue about an individual. I only wish that the party is strengthened. For a stronger India, you need a stronger Congress," he said.

Kharge's victory was a victory of the Congress, he said, adding the party's presidential election was to strengthen the organisation.

Asked if he represented dissent, Tharoor said, "I did not pitch myself as the candidate of dissent, I pitched myself as a candidate of change and change not in the ideology of the party or the direction of the party but the manner in which we do our work."

"I did feel there was the need for opening up access to the workers, creating more opportunities for discussion forums, implementing not only the declarations of the Udaipur Chintan Shivir but additional ideas that I had publicised in the manifesto. For me, I would stress it is not so much about dissent but how we can make a good party better," he said.

Earlier in the day it came to light that Tharoor's campaign team had written to the party's chief election authority on Tuesday, flagging "extremely serious irregularities" in the conduct of the election in Uttar Pradesh, according to sources.


Besides demanding that all votes from Uttar Pradesh be deemed invalid, Tharoor's campaign team had also raised "serious issues" in the conduct of the election in Punjab and Telangana.

Asked about the issue at the presser, Tharoor said that the leak of that letter was unfortunate, "it is certainly not something we would have done, getting some very educated guesses where it came from".

"My campaign manager Salman Soz was doing what was his duty in alerting the election authority to any violations reported to us and they would then inquire and judge what action should be taken. I am not aware that any action has been taken but the point is everybody has to play a role in this," he said.

"We are conscious that the party has had no election in 22 years, we can neither say we are absolutely satisfied nor have we any reason to mistrust. In an election of this nature there are bound to be glitches, slip-ups and there were. But the fact is that we never doubted the good faith of the election authority in wanting to have a free and fair opportunity for both candidates to contest," Tharoor said.

He also noted that the leadership by and large stayed with Kharge.

"If you have choice between change and continuity and you are part of the continuity by your own role why would you want change," he said.

Many people voted for "me despite instructions from some of their leaders not to do so", he said, lauding their courage.

Using a cricketing analogy, Tharoor said, "When you find yourself playing a match and the ball bounces and turns awkwardly off the pitch, you still have to bat, and I have been batting. We were only concerned there is no pitch tampering or ball tampering and for the most part we have no complaints on that score."

The result was very decisive so it would be unfortunate to blame conditions, he added.

Asked if he would continue to raise his voice for reforms, whatever forums, Tharoor said he would stick to his points.

"I have been consistent. Among all those people who signed that letter only one has stayed with me on the various points that were raised in that," he said, referring to the Group of 23 leaders who wrote to Sonia Gandhi seeking large scale reforms.

Tharoor said he will certainly draw Kharge's attention to these ideas and urge him to consider them.

On his views for the Congress Working Committee polls, Tharoor said he cannot make that decision.

"I do hope that Mr Kharge does go ahead and implement that provision of the constitution. The system is clear according to the constitution, 12 seats are elected and president appoints 11 for balance. Mr Kharge will have to decide whether he wants to continue with the present practice or go back to that provision of the constitution," he said.

Tharoor also called on party president-elect Kharge after losing to him, and offered his full cooperation going forward.

In a statement after his defeat, Tharoor said the "democratic contest" has galvanised vibrancy at all levels and has prompted a healthy and constructive discussion on change, which will serve the party in good stead in the future.

He claimed that the Congress' revival has begun.

In a statement, Tharoor said the Nehru-Gandhi family has held, and will always hold, a special place in the hearts of Congress party members.

Hailing the contribution of outgoing president Sonia Gandhi, Tharoor said the party owes an irredeemable debt to her for her nearly 25 years of leadership of the party and for being "our anchor during our most crucial moments".

He also thanked former president Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra for "doing their own bit to support free and neutral elections".

Tharoor asserted that the revival of our party has truly begun today.

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Utkarsh Mishra© Copyright 2024 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
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