Shashi Tharoor hints at 'uneven playing field' in Congress presidential polltext_fields
Congress presidential poll candidate Shashi Tharoor on Sunday (October 9) said that both he and opponent Mallikarjun Kharge had the blessing of the Gandhi family which had no bias towards either of them even though speculations that Kharge was the 'official' candidate have built an uneven playing field.
The Thiruvananthapuram MP said his aim was to strengthen the Congress before the 2024 polls.
"The Gandhi family is blessing me and Kharge ji. Because we are contesting for making the party stronger," Tharoor said while speaking to the media after meeting party functionaries at the Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee office in Mumbai.
The former diplomat dismissed speculation that the ongoing electoral battle with Kharge was one between an official candidate (Kharge) and an unofficial one (himself) as claimed by certain leaders.
"My interactions with the Gandhi family have convinced me that there is no bias from them towards either me or Kharge," he said.
Tharoor, however, conceded that the playing field was a bit uneven given the impression that Kharge was a pro-establishment candidate and that many leaders felt "pressured" to back him.
He said the Congress has run the country nicely and has experienced people in the party. "We need to win the trust of voters," he added during the delegate outreach campaign in Mumbai.
Later in the day, Tharoor had issued a video appeal on Twitter for the over 9,000 Pradesh Congress delegates who will be voting in the organisational poll.
"We face a big challenge in the Indian National Congress. The challenge of reviving our party and making it fit for purpose to fight the formidable BJP in the elections of 2024," he said.
"The challenge is rendered all the more significant by the fact that our party is giving the nation an example of inner party democracy that no other party has been able to," Tharoor said.
He said he has offered a number of ideas to strengthen the party in his manifesto, including decentralisation of authority, empowering the workers so that they have access to all levels of decision-making, broadening participation in the party, and empowering all the workers.
"The idea is to restore institutions that were provided in the party constitution but have fallen into disuse and to win back voters that the party lost in the 2014 and 2019 polls."
He urged the delegates to vote for him on October 17, saying "if not now, when are we going to do it".