Shashi Tharoor

“Not withdrawing from contest for party president,” Tharoor dismisses rumours

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Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Saturday dismissed rumours that he had withdrawn from the race for the Congress president. In a video message he said that he has come across rumours attributing to “sources in Delhi” that he has withdrawn from the race.

“I don’t withdraw from a challenge. Never have all my life and never will,” Tharoor said. He also said he was surprised to receive some calls that informed him about those rumours.

Also read: Rahul: Kharge, Tharoor ‘people of stature’, ‘remote control’ tone insulting

Taking on the challenge

“There are rumours going around, attributed to sources in Delhi, that I am withdrawing today. Let me assure you that I don’t withdraw from a challenge. Never have I in all my life and never will. This is a struggle, a friendly contest within the party, but a fight to the finish. And I am here to stay the course,” Tharoor said. “Please come and vote on the 17th, for me, think tomorrow, think Tharoor,” he said in his message issued in both Hindi and English.

Tharoor is contesting against Mallikarjun Kharge for the party’s top post. The fight is tilted in favour of Kharge as several senior leaders, including those from G-23 — the rebel group — extended their support for him.

Absent leaders

As Tharoor is visiting state units, the response from Congress leaders remained lukewarm. For example, Tharoor himself said that no “leaders” were present when he was in Tamil Nadu. “At the ensuing press conference, media alleged that office-bearers were told to stay away. Interestingly dozens of ordinary citizens attended, to show me their support,” Tharoor said.

Also read: Congress president poll: Shashi Tharoor releases manifesto

Tharoor has many times clarified that there is no ideological difference between him and Kharge. He also urged to vote for Kharge if Congressmen want status quo, while he represents a change, he said.

Earlier, Tharoor claimed that Rahul Gandhi was asked by some party leaders to seek the withdrawal of Tharoor’s candidature but Rahul Gandhi refused to do so, he said.

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