‘If I Held the Cong Leadership Position…’: Shashi Tharoor Weighs in on Opposition Unity Ahead of LS Polls
Congress leader Shashi Tharoor said Rahul Gandhi’s disqualification from Lok Sabha has generated a surprising wave of Opposition unity. (File photo/PTI).
Tharoor said Congress would effectively become the “de facto” where other parties gather, but emphasised that he would not “crow about it” if he held the party leadership position
Lok Sabha MP Shashi Tharoor on Sunday said if he were the Congress president, he would encourage smaller parties to become the convenor of an opposition alliance to take on the BJP in the 2024 general election.
Speaking to the PTI, Tharoor said Congress would effectively become the “de facto” where other parties gather, but emphasised that he would not “crow about it” if he held the party leadership position.
“Objectively we are the only Opposition party with a national footprint. There are about 200 seats where the elections will witness a straight fight between the Congress and the BJP,” he said.
However, the senior party leader who contested the Congress presidential poll race last year, said unity is far more important than pride of place. “But if I were in the party leadership, I would not crow about it; in fact I would actually encourage one of the smaller parties to play the role of convenor of an Opposition alliance. Unity is far more important than pride of place, in my view,” Tharoor asserted.
Tharoor had contested for the post of Congress president last year but had lost the internal party election to Mallikarjun Kharge.
He commented that Rahul Gandhi’s disqualification from Lok Sabha following his conviction in a 2019 defamation case has generated a “surprising wave of Opposition unity” as regional parties traditionally opposed to the Congress in their states, including, AAP in Delhi, TMC in West Bengal, Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh, Bharat Rashtra Samithi in Telangana, CPIM in Kerala, have come out in his support.
According to him, with the majority of the opposition parties now united under a common purpose and avoiding vote-splitting, the BJP may face greater difficulty in securing a majority in the upcoming 2024 elections.
While the Congress has often mentioned Opposition unity, the Trinamool party had stated that the Congress is not its “older month”, while the BRS chief and Telangana’s chief minister K Chandrashekar Rao has been advocating for a third front that was neither affiliated with the Congress nor the BJP.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah had dismissed “opposition unity” as a threat to Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led NDA in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, stating the leaders are only fighting the BJP in their respective states.
“Chandrashekar Rao, Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress, Samajwadi Party, and Congress— let’s say these four come together under the Modi vs Rest formula. Consider if Chandrashekar Rao holds a public meeting in Uttar Pradesh— what difference would it make? If Mamata Banerjee holds a rally in Telangana, will it make a difference? Or if (Akhilesh) Yadav sahab holds a meeting in Bengal, what difference will that make?” said Shah at the News18 Rising India Summit.
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