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I can appeal to voters beyond Congress traditional constituency: Tharoor

Speaking to The Indian Express Thursday in an exclusive interview, Tharoor also said that the Gandhis will continue to be “very significant leading lights” of the party even after the elections, which will see a non-Gandhi elected to the top post after 25 years.

Shashi Tharoor, Congress, Congress president, Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, lok Sabha MP Shashi Tharoor, Tharoor interview, Political Pulse, Indian Express, India news, current affairs, Indian Express News Service, Express News Service, Express News, Indian Express India NewsTharoor also said that he would come out with a manifesto offering ideas to reform and re-energise the party, with focus on decentralising authority, increasing internal consultative mechanisms, and giving workers more access to the leadership at all levels.

SET TO file his nomination papers for the post of Congress president Friday, Lok Sabha MP Shashi Tharoor said that, if elected, he will be able to appeal to voters beyond the party’s traditional constituency as he does not believe “everyone who voted for the BJP in 2014 or 2019 is necessarily a diehard Hindutvawadi or is permanently lost to us”.

Speaking to The Indian Express Thursday in an exclusive interview, Tharoor also said that the Gandhis will continue to be “very significant leading lights” of the party even after the elections, which will see a non-Gandhi elected to the top post after 25 years.

The Kerala MP underlined that he was not contesting on behalf of the G 23 — the group of leaders that he was a part of, which had written to Sonia Gandhi in August 2020 seeking radical reforms in the party — nor was he seeking an endorsement from them.

Tharoor also said that he would come out with a manifesto offering ideas to reform and re-energise the party, with focus on decentralising authority, increasing internal consultative mechanisms, and giving workers more access to the leadership at all levels.

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“I do believe that I would certainly be able to appeal to voters beyond the traditional constituency of the Congress. I have long felt that the 19 per cent ceiling on which we have been stuck for two successive elections has to be breached… and for that we need to appeal to bring back people who didn’t vote for us in the last two elections but might have voted for us previously and who might be willing to vote for us again,” he said.

“I don’t think that everyone who voted for the BJP in 2014 or 2019 is necessarily a diehard Hindutvawadi or is permanently lost to us. I think a lot of people voted for other reasons than the ideological question. It may have been national security after Pulwama and Balakot. It may have been the economy in 2014 with the whole message of Mr (Narendra) Modi being the effective CEO of Gujarat Inc. All of that kind of messaging may have taken away voters who otherwise were Congress voters or at least had voted for the Congress.”

He said, “So we need to bring them back and I believe that’s something which is a significant part of my appeal… at least among the large number of Congressmen and women who called me urging me to contest, there is no doubt that this was the argument that many of them used that they would actually be a very significant appeal to segments of the electorate who have not voted for us.”

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Tharoor said the key organisational reform that he planned to flag during his campaign would be decentralisation of authority. “Those would mean to take away some of the over-centralisation of authority and empower state-level leaders in which case, say, you don’t have to be the one making all the decisions. The era of the one-line resolution authorising the party president to do everything, that era may be over if I have my way,” he said.

First published on: 30-09-2022 at 04:14:48 am
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