Tharoor counters Modi, says dynasty politics integral to India's fabric, prevalent in BJP too

Shashi Tharoor
Shashi Tharoor

Thiruvananthapuram | Amidst unrelenting attacks from Prime Minister Narendra Modi over dynasty politics in the opposition INDIA bloc, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor staunchly defended it, claiming that it is ingrained within India's cultural fabric and its prevalence was not only within the grand old party but also within the BJP.

In an interview with PTI, Tharoor stood by dynasty politics in parties in the country, saying it's part of India's culture and suggested it's a common practice, not something unusual.

"It's a relatively common thing that in India, much more than in the West, a father expects his son to follow his profession, and so it tends to go. So it's not at all surprising that there is a certain level of 'parivar vaad' in all parties," Tharoor said.

Ridiculing the anti-dynasty campaign of Modi during his Lok Sabha election rallies, Tharoor claimed that except for the top few leaders, all the ministers and MPs in the BJP are sons or daughters of other senior BJP officials.

"I honestly don't see any particular consistency in Mr Modi attacking 'parivar vaad' in other parties but encouraging parivar in his own party. His party is full of MPs, ministers, and others who are all sons or daughters of other senior BJP officials," the Congress Working Committee (CWC) member alleged.

The Thiruvananthapuram MP defended the fact that most of the leaders of the INDIA bloc are part of the dynasty.

"This is a cultural habit in our country. We are a country where, very often, sons follow fathers and their professions. Increasingly, daughters are following their mothers' professions...And to my mind, this is something which is there. I mean, in some ways, in our country," Tharoor added.

He, however, quickly added that he was fortunate that neither his father nor his sons were in politics.

Addressing various poll rallies, Modi had targeted Congress and the INDIA bloc parties, including Trinamool Congress, DMK and Rashtriya Janata Dal, alleging that they were bothered only about their dynasties.

Expressing confidence that there is a national situation emerging against the BJP and in favour of INDIA bloc, Tharoor, who is seeking re-election from Thiruvananthapuram Lok Sabha seat as a Congress-led UDF candidate, said the Congress manifesto for the 2024 election will be based on delivering equitable justice to everyone.

As a member of the manifesto committee of the AICC, Tharoor said its focus will be on 'nyay' (justice) for youths and 'nyay' for women.

"Because these are people who represent the future of our country and who we believe are being very badly served by the present government. If you look at the young people of India today, if you're between 20 and 24, your unemployment levels are 45.4 per cent, which is some sort of a world record. It's an absurd level," Tharoor alleged, indicating the Congress will be promising more employment opportunities for youth in the country if elected to power.

He said though he only knows the manifesto submitted to the AICC and not the final draft as he could not attend the Working Committee meeting due to his campaign engagements in Thiruvananthapuram, the proposal is to provide apprenticeships to youths as a solution to unemployment.

The Congress leader said the government will help the companies pay a part of the apprenticeship salary to help youths get an apprenticeship for a year.

"Then you acquire a qualification, and they don't keep you on permanently. That means that you have the right to go and can use this qualification to apply for another job," Tharoor said.

Brushing aside criticism that the Congress does not have a strong leadership line to take on the Modi onslaught, Tharoor said the leadership of Kharge and Rahul Gandhi is 'incredibly strongly active in opposing what the BJP is standing for and what they have been doing'.

"I would say there is absolutely no question in anyone's mind that the principal opposition to the BJP government in Delhi is coming from the Congress party. There is no vacuum, neither in the leadership nor in the ranks," Tharoor said.

Defending the decision of Rahul Gandhi to fight from Wayanad, Tharoor said he is the sitting MP and he has all the right to contest from Wayanad.

Taking a dig at the Left parties, who have been highly critical about Gandhi's candidature in Wayanad, Tharoor asked if they were so concerned, then why did the Left decide to contest against him in Thiruvananthapuram?

"Why are the Communists coming here and contesting against me? Even in the last two elections, the BJP came second, and they are my main opposition in many people's eyes. So this is nonsense," Tharoor said.

He said some people have the rightful perception that he (Rahul Gandhi) has to see the national picture, and in his constituency he can come and go, like he did last time, and people will understand and cooperate.

Tharoor also said that he is not a contender for the post of Prime Minister and hoped that either Kharge or Gandhi would become Prime Minister if INDIA bloc wins the elections.

He said the BJP has already achieved its maximum in many states, and there is only one way for them to go: To go down from what they got in 2019.

"That's why it seems to me that the BJP is going around desperately wooing back allies who were unceremoniously thrown out of the NDA in the last term," Tharoor said, adding BJP realises that they are going to lose many seats in these states where they scored the most during the last election.

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