New Delhi: A week after he was sought an explanation from party’s Kerala unit for ‘praising’ Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor on Monday said he did not join the party looking for a lifelong career.
Speaking to journalists in Delhi, the Congress leader said, he joined the grand-old party as he believed it is the best vehicle for advancement of the ideas of inclusive and progressive India.
“I did not came into Congress party for a life long political career. I came into it because it's the best vehicle for advancement of ideas of an inclusive India. Those ideas cannot be sacrificed merely for the sake of one seat here or 5 per cent (votes) somewhere else because at the end of the day the question remains what is our stand," the Congress leader said.
Shashi Tharoor later clarified his statement and said his comments were misreported.
My remark to journos that i came into Congress despite it not having been a lifelong career, because I shared its principles &values, which we shld affirm, has been misreported as a threat to abandon @incIndia. One can only despair at the sensationalist inaccuracies of our media.— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) September 9, 2019
Tharoor had recently sparked a row after he spoke out in favour of his party colleague Jairam Ramesh, who had publicly declared that it is wrong to “demonise Modi”. The Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee had sought an explanation from the Thirvananthapuram MP following his comments.
"As you know, I have argued for six years now that Narendra Modi should be praised whenever he says or does the right thing, which would add credibility to our criticisms whenever he errs. I welcome others in opposition coming around to a view for which I was excoriated at the time," Tharoor had said.
KPCC president Mullappally Ramachandran later said no action would be taken against Tharoor and other leaders had been asked not to discuss the issue further. He termed it “a closed chapter” after the MP said his remarks were misconstrued.
Asserting that the Lok Sabha poll verdict showed that 60 per cent voters do not agree with the BJP ideology, senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor further said notwithstanding the election defeat, the Congress should not abdicate its idea of inclusive India for the sake of electoral benefits.
The three-time MP from Thiruvananthapuram also stressed that there was no "fundamental disagreement" in the Congress party about the idea of inclusive India. "I genuinely believe, in last (Lok Sabha) elections, the BJP got 37 per cent votes and there are 60 per cent who do not agree with it. Among the 37 per cent also there are some who do not want to see India being reduced to a kind of majoritarian state," Tharoor said.
"So, if we try to behave like the ruling party, then why should anyone vote for us. It is those who agree with us, who want an India for everyone, they are the ones whom we should speak for," Tharoor told reporters on the sidelines of an event organised by Congress' minority department. He said the Congress belief in an inclusive India and working for all, distinguishes it from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.
The Congress should stay strongly anchored in its own principle that India is for everyone which it has been articulating not just for the last 70 years but 130 years, he said.
"Our thinking of inclusive India should never change...Although we have lost the (Lok Sabha) elections, we should not abdicate our resolve, that is what I have been saying," he said and asserted that there can be no compromise on the party's core principles.
"I think there is a healthy disagreement about ideology and that is a good thing because ultimately, out of that process we come to the conclusion what we stand for," Tharoor said.
(With inputs from PTI)