Sunday, July 21, 2024

Lok Sabha Polls 2024: ‘New govt in June, no need to wait for Modi’s retirement in September 2025,’ says Shashi Tharoor

Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor has stated that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will not continue as India’s leader beyond June 4, when the 2024 Lok Sabha election results are announced, PTI reported. This came amid speculation about Modi’s anticipated tenure till September 2025, when he turns 75.

“A new government will come to power at the Centre in June. There is no need to wait till September 2025,” Tharoor said. He was responding to a query on Aam Admi Party (AAP) chief Arvind Kejriwal’s remarks that Modi would retire post his 75th birthday — as is the precedent set by other senior BJP leaders over the years.

Kejriwal, while speaking to the media on May 12, suggested that Modi is endorsing Home Minister Amit Shah as his successor after his “retirement” at the age of 75 in September 2025.

Responding to queries about Modi’s “retirement age,” Tharoor questioned whether BJP would make an exception for him and speculated that Modi’s tenure might conclude after the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

“Will BJP make the exception for one person? Anyway, we need not have to wait till September 2025. Modi will not be PM after June 2024 (when the results of Lok Sabha elections will be out),” he said.

Criticism of Modi’s discourse

Speaking at a press conference in Mumbai, Tharoor criticised Modi for the standard of “public discourse and language used by him”, adding that it “is not good for the country”.

The three-term Congress MP from Thiruvananthapuram also defended his party’s decision to abstain from attending the consecration ceremony of the new Ram temple in Ayodhya earlier this year.

Tharoor said that the BJP “doesn’t have copyright on Lord Ram”, and added, “I go to temples for praying and not for doing politics. They are misusing the ‘pran pratishtha’ ceremony in Ayodhya for politics. Should I surrender Lord Ram to BJP?”

He also attacked the ruling party for its failure to engage in substantial discussions on critical matters such as inflation, unemployment, farmers’ income, and the decline in the income of most of the population.

Coalition politics & Muslims

Tharoor cited “compulsions of coalition politics” to justify Congress’ decision not to field any Muslim candidates in Maharashtra.

“In coalition politics, a party has to contest a lesser number of seats … making concessions in the larger interest of the alliance cannot be called a surrender,” he told reporters.

The Congress is part of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) alliance in Maharashtra, along with Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena (UBT).

He went on to criticise the BJP for purportedly sidelining Muslim leaders, claiming that those who were once prominent during Vajpayee’s tenure were sidelined under Modi’s leadership.

“All Muslim leaders who were part of the Vajpayee era were phased out after Modi’s first term (as prime minister). Allies are standing with us. There is mutual respect unlike in the BJP-led NDA, where Akali Dal and BJD have spurned the BJP,” Tharoor said.

He also praised former PMs Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Manmohan Singh for running their coalition governments excellently.

Confident of Lok Sabha Poll results

Tharoor expressed confidence in Congress’ prospects in the ongoing Lok Sabha elections, particularly in Mumbai, where he campaigned for Congress nominees Varsha Gaikwad and Bhushan Patil.

“The Congress’ priority is to protect the essential character of cosmopolitan Mumbai. After three phases of polling, a change is visible in the air. I am confident that there will be good results in the favour of Congress,” he added.

Voting for all six Parliamentary constituencies in Mumbai is scheduled to be held on May 20.

(With inputs from PTI)

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Published: 13 May 2024, 09:32 AM IST

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