Highlights

  • Tharoor claims Rahul was asked to coax him to withdraw
  • Shashi Tharoor is contesting Congress presidential polls
  • The elections will be held on October 17

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Rahul Gandhi was asked to request me to withdraw candidature: Tharoor

Earlier in the day, he 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.

Congress leader Shashi Tharoor has claimed that Rahul Gandhi was asked by some party members to request the Thiruvananthapuram MP to withdraw his candidature from the party's presidential election.

Tharoor, who is in Kerala as part of the poll campaign, told reporters that Gandhi refused to do so because he felt a contest would benefit the grand old party.

"He reminded me that he has been saying so for the past 10 years that there should be a contest for the party chief's post.

"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," the Thiruvananthapuram MP said.

Earlier in the day, he 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.

Tharoor also said he was not going to betray those who supported him till now in this endeavour of his by backing off from the election.

"I was not expecting any support from the big leaders of the party and I am not expecting that now either. In fact, I met party workers at Nagpur, Wardha and then Hyderabad. They are the ones asking me to contest and not back away from it.

Also watch: G-23 group was media's idea, never existed: Tharoor

"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.

(with inputs from PTI)

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