Shashi Tharoor, who is in contention with senior colleague Mallikarjun Kharge for the post of congress leader, on Saturday dismissed rumors he was crediting with “Delhi sources” that he had withdrawn from the race.
In a video message, Tharoor said: “I never back down from a challenge. Never my whole life and never.” He also said he was surprised to receive some calls informing him of the “rumours.”
“Rumors are circulating, credited to sources in Delhi, that I am retiring today. Let me assure you that I will not shy away from any challenge. I never have in my life and I never will. This is a fight, a friendly fight within the party, but a fight to the end. And I’m here to stay the course,” Tharoor said. “Please come and vote for me on the 17th. Think tomorrow, think Tharoor,” he added in the message, which was issued in both Hindi and English.
Tharoor, who has also previously clarified that he will not retire from the competition, appears to be fighting a lonely fight as the battle for the presidency tilts in Kharge’s favour. Several senior leaders, including those of the dissident group G-23, have lent their support to Kharge. From the nomination process to campaigning in different states, Tharoor’s stay has received a lukewarm response, but that hasn’t deterred him.
Speaking to the media earlier, Tharoor said he received strong support from party leaders and cadres and, being a “democratically inclined” person, he had not urged other candidates to withdraw their candidacy.
He said he wants to transform Congress into a “party of young India” and expressed confidence that his support base is growing.
Tharoor had also claimed that Rahul Gandhi had been asked by some party leaders to withdraw his candidacy, but the former Congress President had refused.
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