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  4. 'Congress leaders asked Rahul Gandhi to request me to withdraw from president polls': Tharoor

'Congress leaders asked Rahul Gandhi to request me to withdraw from president polls': Tharoor

Congress president election: Shashi Tharoor said that Rahul Gandhi said he will not ask the former to withdraw as a contest would benefit the party.

Sri Lasya Edited By: Sri Lasya @laasiyapriya Thiruvananthapuram Published on: October 04, 2022 17:51 IST
Making his pitch stronger, Tharoor quoted Rahul Gandhi and
Image Source : PTI Making his pitch stronger, Tharoor quoted Rahul Gandhi and said, "He also told me that some persons have asked him to request me to withdraw my candidature. He told me he will not do so. He said I should not withdraw and that I should contest in the election."

Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, who is currently busy campaigning for the party presidential polls, on Tuesday claimed that senior party leader Rahul Gandhi was asked by senior leaders to request him to withdraw from the polls. The Thiruvananthapuram MP told reporters in Kerala that Gandhi said he will not ask the former to withdraw as a contest would benefit the grand old party.

Two veteran leaders - Mallikarjun Kharge and Shashi Tharoor - are contesting the Congress presidential polls. While the Gandhis say a 'neutral polls' is likely to take place, the odds of Tharoor bagging the election seems like a long shot. This is because of the support that Kharge is reportedly receiving from the Gandhis and with the support of 30 MLAs in the party campaigning for the 80-year-old leader. 

Earlier in the day, Tharoor said that he never expected big leaders to support him and does not expect it even now, but at the same time, he needs everyone's backing. The statement came in the wake of Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president K Sudhakaran publicly declaring his support for veteran leader Mallikarjun Kharge for the party chief's post.

Making his pitch stronger, Tharoor quoted Rahul Gandhi and said, "He also told me that some persons have asked him to request me to withdraw my candidature. He told me he will not do so. He said I should not withdraw and that I should contest in the election." 

Also Read | 'Wish to campaign for Tharoor or Kharge? Resign first,' says Congress ahead of presidential polls

On support to Kharge from top leaders, Tharoor says..

"I assured them I will not back away. I will not betray those who have supported me till now. Their confidence in me is what gives me the strength to move forward," he said. He also said that while the "majority of his supporters are young party leaders and party workers", he needs support from everyone and was not going to discount anyone.

On being asked whether Sudhakaran's public support for Kharge was meant to discourage others from supporting him, Tharoor said, "Maybe. But I am not saying that. I do not need to decipher what is going on in people's minds. I will say one thing, whatever one says secretly or publicly, the ballot is secret.

"No one is going to know who voted for whom. People can vote according to their wishes and beliefs. They can decide whom they want to strengthen the party and prepare it to counter the challenges it would face in the future."

Regarding Sudhakaran's statement, the Thiruvananthapuram MP said the KPCC chief probably expressed his personal decision and preference and "there is nothing wrong with that."

"He cannot give a direction which is clear from the circular issued by the party debarring party office-bearers from campaigning for candidates. But please don't ask me about it. If the election authority wants to do something about it, it is up to them," he said.

The election circular issued by the party on Monday said that AICC general secretaries/ in-charges, secretaries, joint secretaries, Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) presidents, Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leaders, heads of frontal organisations, chiefs of departments, cells and all official spokespersons "shall not campaign for or against contesting candidates."

"If they wish to support any candidate, they must first resign from their organisational post, after that they participate in the campaign process," it said.

The polling for the Congress presidential election will be held on October 17. The counting of votes will be taken up on October 19 and the results will be declared the same day.

More than 9,000 Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) delegates will vote in the poll. 

(With inputs from PTI)

Also Read | Congress president election: 'Never expected support from big leaders', says Shashi Tharoor

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