Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Wednesday said it was not surprising that the leadership of the grand old party largely supported his party colleague and president-elect Mallikarjun Kharge, who won the polls for the top post in the party with a decisive mandate.
The Congress MP said those who are part of the continuity would always choose it over change if given a choice between the two.
While the Congress had denied supporting any candidate for the elections to replace interim chief Sonia Gandhi, it is widely believed that Kharge was the first choice of the high command. Besides, Kharge’s nomination was backed by a number of party leaders, including some from G-23, a group of senior functionaries that had been demanding structural reforms in the party. Tharoor was a member of that group that had written to Sonia Gandhi seeking an overhaul of the party.
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“Our party did not hold polls for 22 years. In an election of this nature, there were bound to be glitches. Leadership by and large stayed with Mr Kharge. It’s not surprising if you’ve to choose between change and continuity and if you are part of continuity, why would you want change,” Tharoor said while addressing a press conference after conceding defeat to Kharge.
Kharge defeated Tharoor by polling 7,897 of 9,385 votes. Tharoor got 1,072 votes, while 416 votes were declared invalid. The first non-Gandhi president in two decades, Kharge will take charge on October 26.
Tharoor said Kharge’s victory should be considered as the Congress’ victory and that the election was never about any individual, but the party. “I always wanted to strengthen the party because strengthening the Congress is very important for the country,” he added.
The Thiruvananthapuram MP said he visited Kharge’s residence and personally congratulated him on his victory. “He is a senior leader and will always guide the party. I’m extremely happy as over 1000 delegates voted for me. Our workers are the real pride of our party.”
The much-awaited party election came ahead of upcoming Assembly elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, and the 2024 general elections. Kharge, the Congress’s new president, faces a tall task of reviving the party ahead of the general elections with the party expecting to gain some lost ground.