New Delhi [India]: Ahead of the run-up to Congress presidential polls, party MP and a contender for the top post Shashi Tharoor on Thursday said he has been facing differential treatment from the party leaders as against his opponent Mallikarjun Kharge.
Notably, Shashi Tharoor and Mallikarjun Kharge are up against each other in the race for the post of Congress President.
Addressing a press conference here, Tharoor said, “We are contesting elections. There is no spirit of enmity in our party. Kharge Sahab is my senior leader and I have worked closely with him. The election is about two colleagues seeing how to work to strengthen the party.”
On his “uneven playing field” remark, Congress presidential candidate Tharoor said, “…In several PCCs, leaders welcomed and met Kharge Sahab. The same was not done for me. I visited PCCs but PCC chiefs were not available. I am not complaining, but do you not see a difference in treatment?”
He said his partymen should vote for him only if they are seeking a change in Congress.
“Do you want the party to go with change or are you satisfied with everything? If you think everything is fine, do not vote for me as I want such a change in the party that would bring back voters who did not remain with us in 2014 and 2019,” added the Thiruvananthapuram MP.
Earlier this week, Tharoor had said he could act as a catalyst of change for the grand old party in order to revive the party’s presence in the country.
Regarding rumours that Kharge is an official candidate for party chief and he is not, Tharoor said, “Some people are saying Kharge is an official candidate and I am no one. But I want to say that the Gandhi family is unbiased and no one is an official candidate as we are standing for strengthening of the Congress party. If someone is saying that delegates are asked to vote for a certain person, it’s not true.”
Meanwhile, Congress veteran leader and party’s presidential candidate Mallikarjun Kharge had said that his name was not suggested by the party supremo Sonia Gandhi and dismissed the speculations of receiving support from the party’s interim president.
Kharge said that Sonia Gandhi had never suggested his name for the party president position and called it a rumour.
Kharge further said that members of the party have elected delegates which are 9,300 in number who will vote for the candidate and the one with the majority would be elected.
Notably, Digvijaya Singh pulled out from the race earlier and extended his support to Kharge, who he said is a senior and respected leader of the party, and against whom he “cannot think of contesting”.
Singh was the second Congress leader to pull out of the race after Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot announced he would not contest the elections following the political turmoil in his state.
With the Gandhis not running for the top post, the grand old party is all set to get a non-Gandhi president after over 25 years.
Voting will take place on October 17 and the election results will be declared on October 19. (ANI)