New Delhi: Downplaying the LokSabha poll verdict, senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor urged his party to not abdicate its idea of inclusive India for the sake of electoral benefits.
"I genuinely believe, in last elections, the BJP got 37 per cent votes and there is 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," the three-time MP from Thiruvananthapuram 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 did not come into Congress party for a life long political career. I came into it because it is the best vehicle for the 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," he said.
"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.
The remarks by the former union minister came in response to a question on his interview to PTI on Sunday in which he said the answer to the party's woes in Hindi heartland does not lie in "majority appeasement" or offering some sort of a "Hindutva Lite" like a "Coke Lite" as such a pursuit will only end up in being "Congress Zero".
Tharoor's comments come following Congress' washout in the Hindi heartland in the Lok Sabha polls and suggestions by some from both within and outside the party that it needs to counter the BJP narrative of "minority appeasement" and go soft on its secularism refrain.
(With inputs from PTI)