New Delhi: Calling on electors to show courage to “embrace change”, Congress’ presidential polls candidate Shashi Tharoor on Sunday asserted that in the change he envisions, the party’s “values and loyalties” will remain the same with only the ways of achieving the goals undergoing a transformation.
In his “last appeal” to the over 9,000 Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) delegates who constitute the electoral college to pick the next AICC chief, Tharoor noted that from his conversations over the last few days he gathered that many of them may have concerns or hesitation about change.
While Tharoor has pitched himself as the candidate of change, Kharge is considered the favourite and the ‘unofficial official candidate’ with a large number of senior leaders backing him.
“It is natural to have concerns about change in any organisation of the scale and size like ours, that’s why I want to address this directly,” Tharoor said in his video appeal which he posted on Twitter.
“In the conversations that we had in the last few days, I gather that many of you have not still made up your minds (on who to vote for). I recognise that while my message of decentralisation, modernisation and inclusivity may appeal to you, you still have concerns and hesitation about change,” he said.
The Congress has endured as an important force in Indian politics because time and and time again when the situation demanded, it was willing to embrace change, Tharoor said and cited the examples of the 1991 economic liberalisation, generational change effected with Rajiv Gandhi being brought about after losing a tall leader like Indira Gandhi and the green revolution in the 1960s and 70s.
Many people would notice that due to these changes the party was strengthened, he said, underlining that change is not easy and it is dicomforting to adopt.
“Now for many, embrace of the new also seems to imply a rebuke of the old. I want to clarify in no uncertain terms that the change I envision is one that combines the wisdom of the old and the energy of the new,” Tharoor said. “Our values and loyalties will remain the same and yet the ways in which we seek to achieve our shared goals will need to change”.
He said the thing that is most needed for this change is courage.
It does not matter who becomes president but what matters is that does the Congress and its workers have the courage to embrace change, the MP from Thiruvananthapuram said.
“Whatever the outcome may be, I believe every vote for me provides a signal, not just to the party but to the country, that the Congress is willing to change and is willing to do whatever is needed to reinvigorate ourselves and take on the divisive forces of the BJP,” he said. “All party workers and citizens of the country are waiting for your answer.”
“I still remain optimistic because I believe that courage is at the very core of the Congress, our predecessors took on an empire, took on the forces of hate, oppression and division, and they won. They won because the soul of the Congress was built on millions of acts of courage not just by leaders but by Congress workers just like each one of us today. I believe that legacy endures in you even today,” Tharoor said.
“When you stand in that booth with your secret ballot there is no other force there with you except your own conscience and your own courage. I hope we will exercise not just our vote but also our legacy of our courage,” he added.
In his message to the delegates, Tharoor also said Monday morning they are all are going to do something historic and as a faithful Congress person, probably it would be for the first time they will vote for the post of the party president.
“I hope you would be knowing about the 10 points of my manifesto. You know that I want to bring about decentralisation, modernisation in the party and my dream is to make it more inclusive,” he said.
With Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra not in the running for the party president’s post, a non-Gandhi would be at the helm after over 24 years following the polling on Monday and counting on Wednesday.
The upcoming polls would certainly be historic as the new president would replace Sonia Gandhi, the longest-serving party president who has been at the helm since 1998, barring the two years between 2017 and 2019 when Rahul Gandhi took over.