Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Thursday favoured limiting the term of office for state presidents in the party and said Congress should be revived and re-energised to take on the Bharatiya Janata Party in the 2024 general elections.
Denying rumours that he may opt out of the presidential race due to meagre support, Tharoor said he was very much in the fray and has been receiving support from various quarters.
"My message is revive the party, re-energise it, empower workers, decentralise authority and be in touch with the people. This, I believe will make Congress politically fit to take on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his BJP in the 2024 (general) election," Tharoor said during his interaction with media persons at Sathyamurthy Bhavan, the Congress state headquarters.
Stating that he has respect and great regards for party veteran Mallikarjun Kharge, Tharoor said the contest was friendly based on different approaches to face the BJP and not ideological, as both hailed from the same party.
"We need to reform the way our party functions. We need to bring young people in the party and give them real authority. At the same time, we should give greater respect to hardworking and long-serving karyakartas," he said releasing his poll manifesto.
Decentralising powers, strengthening party at the booth level, utilising general secretaries for nation building activities while dispensing their services as state in-charges, and trusting state presidents by giving them a free hand in decision making besides limiting their term of office, are among the 10 points highlighted in the manifesto.
"We need to reiterate the core convictions of the Congress. We are the party of inclusive India, a party that believes in equal rights and is against oppression. This is the idea we stood and fought for and we must reiterate it," he said.
If elected as president, he would revive certain institutions like the parliamentary board.
The manifesto focuses on the need for the Congress to return to the ethos of social work, Tharoor added.
"The party is not a machine to fight elections once in five years, but it should live along with and serve the people... we should connect with the people and work with them," the Thiruvananthapuram MP said.
Popular connect with people is fundamental and this was being illustrated by the successful Bharat Jodo Yatra of party leader Rahul Gandhi, he said.
Responding to a question, Tharoor replied the party has a successful alliance with the DMK in Tamil Nadu and it enjoyed good ties with the state government.