Nagpur (Maharashtra) [India], October 2 (ANI): Ahead of the Congress presidential polls, Shashi Tharoor said that he represents change in the party which a leader like Mallikarjun Kharge can't bring about.
The Congress MP, while addressing party workers at Mahatma Gandhi Memorial in Nagpur on Sunday, said that the Congress President's polls are not a war, but only "he" can bring the required changes in the party.
"We are not enemies, it's not war. Some people are saying that Kharge Ji is a senior leader, and why don't I get out of the race for him? I respect Kharge Ji, but it's a poll for our party's future. There are differences in the way we want to take the party forward," Tharoor said.
"Kharge Ji is a part of our leadership, and other than the Gandhi family he is among the top three leaders of the Congress party. But leaders like him can't bring change and will continue the existing system. I will bring the change as per the expectations of party workers," Tharoor further said.
Earlier on Saturday, while talking to ANI, Tharoor had called the Gandhi family an asset to the party saying, "Gandhi family and Congress' DNA is the same...No (party) president is such a fool to tell "goodbye" to Gandhi family. They are a huge asset to us".
Tharoor stressed that the contest between him and Kharge is "not a battle" and it should be left upon the Congress workers to choose between the two.
"This isn't a battle...Let party workers choose, that's our message. I'm saying that if you're satisfied with the party's work, vote for Kharge Sahab. If you want a change, I'm there. But there's no ideological problem. There will not be any change in the message of the Congress party," he said.
Noting that the Central leadership in the party is taking all the decisions, Tharoor emphasised on giving rights to the lower levels of the organisation to take decisions.
"All the decisions are being taken in New Delhi these days. It would be good for the party if the right to take decisions is given to the grassroots at the levels of the blocks, Zilla and states," he said.
Notably, in the manifesto released by Tharoor soon after filing his nomination, he mentioned the need for "decentralization" in the party.
Talking about his decision to run for the party's top post, he said that he intended to contest when the election was announced, backed by the party workers.
"The internal democracy that we are showing is not present in any other party. When the election was announced, I had the intention (to contest). I wrote an article, stating that the election is good for the party and mentioned its reasons," he said.
Tharoor and Kharge are up against each other in the race for the post of Congress president.
Digvijaya Singh pulled out from the race yesterday 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 is 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.
The results of the party polls will be declared on October 19. (ANI)