The competition with Shashi Tharoor is for the betterment of the country and the Congress: Mallikarjun Kharge

Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said Sunday his fight with Shashi Tharoor for the party president’s post was aimed at promoting their points of view for the betterment of the country and the party. Kharge said so during an interaction with party delegates at the Congressional Bureau here, where he asked for their support for the AICC presidential election.

This is an internal election. It’s like two brothers at home not arguing but taking their points and trying to convince each other, he said. The Congress Party veteran said the campaign isn’t about what any particular candidate will do when they become party leader, but what they can do together.

My belief is… What I will do is not the question. The question is what we both will do together for the country and for the party, that’s important. Let’s not talk about whether I’m going to do this or that, or talk about someone else. How will you (party workers) and I together strengthen the party, save the country’s constitution and its democracy, that is the question.

“Today the atmosphere in the country is deteriorating and we must strengthen it through peace and unity. That is why Bharat Jodo Yatra is active, he said. Kharge, 80, said he would implement the party’s Udaipur Declaration if elected.

If I get a chance then I will try to fully implement the Udaipur Declaration because you made the declaration after consultation and put some things before the party, the country. I’ll try to move this forward and I’ll take you with me. It’s important to take everyone with you. I will take everyone’s advice and find solutions to the problems by discussing with PCCs and others. It’s collective leadership, he added.

The former opposition leader in Rajya Sabha appealed to delegates to support his candidacy, saying there was no pressure on anyone and whoever supported him was happy to do so. He also said Rahul Gandhi was the only option if the party needed to become stronger and more powerful.

When I met Madam (Sonia) Gandhi I told her if the party needs to get stronger and more powerful then there is no choice but Rahul Gandhi because he is fighting in the streets, in Parliament and now he has sworn to 3500 go miles and he’s hiked three states. It’s his commitment. He walks the streets and doesn’t make decisions in a chamber of the AC. Thousands and lakhs of people join. This Bharat Jodo Yatra is about uniting the minds of the people of the country, not dividing them, he said.

Responding to Union Home Secretary Amit Shah’s accusation that Congress was only talking about dividing the country, Kharge said if the country is thriving today, it’s because of the Congress party. Our leaders have given so much to the country, he said.

Kharge said it is Shah’s habit to talk about dividing the country rather than uniting it wherever he goes. We’re talking about uniting the country, uniting society, bringing everyone together and saving the constitution to make the country work as a democracy. That’s what we believe in and that’s what we work for, he said.

He also asked if Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Shah had helped bring the country to independence. They weren’t even born then. Congress leaders like Mahatma Gandhi have fought for it. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru spent nine years in prison for uniting the country. Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi sacrificed their lives. What sacrifice did you make for the country? he asked.

If nothing was done in those 70 years, would there be many AIIMS, so many doctors and engineers, or so much public sector work? They don’t do anything, they just make slogans, dividing people is their goal and that’s what they do. But we will continue to fight against it, said the congress leader.

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