Shashi Tharoor, Mallikarjun Kharge | Photo: PTI, Mathrubhumi
Srinagar: Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge on Sunday said his contest with Shashi Tharoor for the post of party president was aimed at putting forth their viewpoints for the betterment of the country and the party.
Kharge said this during an interaction with party delegates at Congress office here, where he sought their support for the AICC presidential election.
“This is an internal election. It is like two brothers at home, who are not fighting, but placing their points of view and trying to persuade each other,” he said.
The Congress party veteran said the election campaign was not about what a particular candidate will do if he becomes the president of the party, 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, this is important.
“Let us not talk about whether I will do this or that, or talk about someone else. How will you (party workers) and me together make the party stronger, save the country's constitution and its democracy, that is the question.
"Today, the country's atmosphere is deteriorating and we have to make it stronger by peace and unity. That is why Bharat Jodo yatra is on,” he said.
Kharge, 80, said he would implement the Udaipur declaration of the party if he gets elected.
“If I get an opportunity, then I will try to fully implement the Udaipur declaration, because you have made the declaration after deliberations and placed a few things before the party, the country. I will try to take that forward and will take you along.
“It is important to take everyone along. I will take everyone's advice and find solutions to the problems by discussing with PCCs and others… It is collective leadership,” he added.
Appealing to the delegates to support his candidature, the former leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha said there was no pressure on anyone and whoever was supporting him, was doing so happily.
He also said Rahul Gandhi was the only option if the party has to become stronger and powerful.
“When I met Madam (Sonia) Gandhi, I told her if the party has to become stronger and powerful, then there is no option other than Rahul Gandhi because he fights on the roads, in the Parliament, and now he has vowed to walk 3500 km and he has walked three states.
“It is his commitment. He is walking on the roads and not taking decisions in an AC chamber. Thousands and lakhs of people are joining. This Bharat Jodo yatra is about uniting the thinking of the people of the country and not about dividing them,” he said.
Responding to Union Home Minister Amit Shah's charge that the Congress only talks about dividing the country, Kharge said if the country is prospering today, it is because of the Congress party.
“Our leaders have given so much to the country,” he said.
Kharge said it was Shah's habit to talk about dividing the country and not uniting it everywhere he goes.
“We talk about uniting the country, uniting the society, getting everyone together and saving the constitution so that the country functions as a democracy. We believe in that and we are working for that,” he said.
He also asked whether Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Shah helped in getting the country its independence.
“They were not even born then. Congress party leaders like Mahatma Gandhi fought for it. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru spent nine years in jail for uniting the country. Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi sacrificed their lives. What sacrifice have you given for the country?” he asked.
“If nothing has been done in these 70 years, then would there be many AIIMS, so many doctors and engineers or so much public sector work? They do nothing, but only sloganeering, dividing the people is their aim and they are doing that. But, we will continue to fight that,” the Congress leader said. PTI