Congress parliamentarian Shashi Tharoor on Monday said he had joined the party because it is the “best vehicle” to advance the idea of an inclusive India, and it should not leave this belief because of electoral losses, PTI reported.

“I did not came into Congress party for a lifelong political career,” Tharoor said on the sidelines of an event organised by Congress’ minority department. “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% [votes] somewhere else because at the end of the day the question remains what is our stand.”

This came a day after the 63-year-old leader had said that offering voters some sort of “Hindutva Lite” will not help revive the Congress party in the Hindi heartland. He had said that such an attempt would only lead to the party becoming “Congress zero”.

“I genuinely believe, in last [Lok Sabha] elections, the BJP got 37% votes and there are 60% who do not agree with it,” Tharoor said on Monday. “Among the 37% also there are some who do not want to see India being reduced to a kind of majoritarian state.”

Tharoor questioned why citizens would vote for Congress if it they try to behave like BJP. “It is those who agree with us, who want an India for everyone, they are the ones whom we should speak for,” he said.

He stressed that the Congress should not compromise and 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. “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.”

The three-time MP from Thiruvananthapuram added that there was no “fundamental disagreement” in the Congress party about the idea of inclusive India. “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.

Last month, Tharoor came under fire from his own party for supporting party colleague Jairam Ramesh’s statement that the Congress should stop demonising Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The Congress leader had claimed that he had argued for six years that the prime minister should be praised whenever he says or does the right thing, thereby adding credibility to the Opposition’s criticisms whenever he errs. A few days later, the party accepted his explanation for the comments.

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