Not disappointed, election has galvanised Congress workers: Tharoor

Shashi Tharoor. Photo: PTI

New Delhi: Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, who lost the party's presidential poll to Mallikarjun Kharge, said he talked about the election's outcome with Sonia Gandhi on Thursday and she stated that it was not surprising that "people would back one of their own".

In the poll, winning candidate Kharge was backed by several senior leaders while Tharoor had pitched himself as the candidate of change, largely supported by lesser-known party workers.

Speaking at the launch of Congress veteran and former Union minister Mohsina Kidwai's biography, Tharoor also said he was not disappointed about the result as the poll had galvanised party workers.

Mohsina Kidwai's biography has been written by her along with senior journalist Rasheed Kidwai.

Asked if he was disappointed and disheartened with the result, Tharoor, said, "No, I am not disappointed because I think it was very clear from the earliest moments of the campaign that the establishment, minus the rare case of a Mohsina Kidwai or a Saifuddin Soz or a few other fellow MPs, was going to rally behind him (Kharge) and that inevitably happened and I have no complaints about that."

"In fact, Sonia Ji and I were talking today about the election and she was saying it's not surprising that people would sort of back one of their own and I said 'absolutely, I wasn't surprised," the MP from Thiruvananthapuram said.

After the event, he said that he had met Sonia Gandhi.

Tharoor said he was gratified by the extent to which the entire election process galvanised people on both sides and party workers.

"I have now made new relationships with our party workers all over the country that I would never have had a chance without this election," he said.

"I feel that many of them have touched me and I have touched them in ways that I believe would have a lasting value in our respective political innings in the party. So, I was very pleased about all of that and I believe there is a lot to be learnt in the positive sense from having an exercise like this," the Congress leader said.

Tharoor also said he was quite amused to see the ruling BJP's spokespeople attacking the Congress for his mistreatment to which he had responded that "we can fight our own internal battles but try holding your own election first before you comment on ours".

At the book launch, former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah called for Opposition unity to take on the present dispensation.

He urged Tharoor to keep strengthening the Congress and keep standing by the party and its leader.

Abdullah also said though he and his father Sheikh Abdullah had suffered at the hands of the Congress, he believes the party can help save the country.

In his remarks, Mani Shankar Aiyar said he would have been a proposer for Tharoor's candidature for Congress presidential polls but the Kerala MP told him his name was not on the voters' list. After asking around, Aiyar finally found his name on the list.

Aiyar said Tharoor fought the polls well and noted that he made it clear during the campaign that it was a friendly fight and not a contest against rivals.

Aiyar said Tharoor was a champion of change while Kharge was a champion of continuity and if both views meet going forward, the party was a winner in the polls.

Besides Kidwai, Tharoor, Abdullah and Aiyar, senior Congress leaders and former Union ministers Shivraj Patil and Sushilkumar Shinde were present at the book launch.

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