“To stop mob lynchings the high command should respond” - Shashi Tharoor
Shashi Tharoor replied, to whether this elections will be the toughest that it has faced in many years, In many ways it is a national elections and we dont expect in every case that the State realities of today will be reflected in the outcome of the national elections
Shashi Tharoor replied, to whether this elections will be the toughest that it has faced in many years, “In many ways it is a national elections and we don’t expect in every case that the State realities of today will be reflected in the outcome of the national elections. There is also the fact that the number of States you have mentioned in certainly going to go up by end of this year when the Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and MP elections take place.”
He added that, “I am proud of the fact that I have initiated this discussion through my book, Why I Am a Hindu. There are many proud Hindus in the Congress who see a very inclusive kind of Hinduism, the Hinduism that Swami Vivekananda preached, which was a Hinduism that went beyond tolerance and to acceptance. To my mind, that is the key to kind of Hindu ethos that has made Muslims, Christians, Sikh, Jews and Jains safe in our country.
On being asked if convicted, he will be disbarred for six years from fighting elections, he said, “The intention of all of this is precisely for it to play on my mind, so I have to find a way to to resist all of this. A second case has been filed against me in Kolkata for the ‘Hindu Pakistan’ remark. It is sad. In no other democracy where freedom of expression is accepted would such a case have been admitted. On top of that there are other forms of political harassment that have been unleashed against me. The only strength I have is a clear conscience. I know that I have not and would never have done anything along the lines that have been alleged. I am confident, having seen the charge sheet, that there isn’t a shred of evidence for even the thought that she committed suicide. I and none in her family believe it. Since it is sub judice, I can’t say more, but we will be following the process through to its conclusion.
Speaking about the hug Rahul gave to the PM in Lok Sabha earlier he said, “I believe it was spontaneous and it had a tremendous effect on the narrative. The way the media works, the next day’s stories.. Whatever Rahul Gandhi had said would have been about Mr.Modi, that’s how we have seen in the last four years. However, once Rahul surprised everybody, including Mr.Modi, with that hug, it was inescapable for any journalist with a news sense. It was on the front page of every newspaper. It shifted the narrative. It was a masterstroke, spontaneous, but also very well illustrated the point that we are not a party of hatred but of love.
He spoke about the new President of Congress Rahul Gandhi and how different he is from Sonia Gandhi. “He is youthful and energetic, he says things that his mother would probably never say. You would have never seen his mother giving a hug even to Sushma Swaraj. I think there are some differences of style. Some of the old-timers who have served the party in the last 20 years of Sonia Gandhi’s leadership have gently and respectfully been replaced by younger people who are closer to Rahul Gandhi. But in terms of substance, ideology, policy, and so on, I don’t see much difference. Organisationally, there is one important difference,” he added that, “ Rahul has reached out to new constituencies.”
He also spoke about the Rajya Sabha seat given to the Kerala Congress saying, “It was associated with us in the past. It was only a temporary sacrifice. Equally important is the fact that the Congress has a tremendous hold on the affections of the people of Kerala. Having said that, there are a couple of problems. There is well known groupism that has been the bane of the party for the last 30 years. There is the fact that for the moment, the high command has not yet announced a permanent official arrangement for the leadership of the party in the lead-up to the elections. Eventually, whoever Rahul Gandhi appoints will have the support of the party.”