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'I will not withdraw': AICC Presidential candidate Shashi Tharoor says 'rumours that I am going to withdraw is false'

Congress leader Shashi Tharoor favoured limiting the term of office for state presidents in the party and said that the Congress should be revived and re-energised to take on BJP in the 2024 general elections. 

  • Congress leader Shashi Tharoor said he will not withdraw his nomination for the post of Congress president
  • The Thiruvananthapuram MP said that he was drawing huge support from the party leaders and cadres
  • The polling for the Congress presidential election is scheduled to be held on October 17

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'I will not withdraw': AICC Presidential candidate Shashi Tharoor says 'rumours that I am going to withdraw is false'

Chennai: Congress leader and Member of Parliament from Thiruvananthapuram, Shashi Tharoor, said that he will not withdraw his nomination for the post of Congress party president, adding that he was drawing huge support from the party leaders and cadres while interacting with media persons at Sathyamurthy Bhavan, the Congress state headquarters, here on Thursday. The polling for the Congress presidential election is scheduled to be held on October 17.

The former Union minister said, "Rumours that I am going to withdraw (nomination) are false. I am receiving so much support that if I wouldn't have been democratically inclined, I would have asked the other candidate to withdraw."

Shashi Tharoor said that there was a need for a strong Congress party in the country to take on the BJP, adding that he wants to change the Congress into a "party of young India", and his support base is swelling.

He also said that the youth who are the future of the country was backing him and added that 65 per cent of the population of the country are below 35, and his expectations are on this young generation.

Shashi Tharoor releases poll manifesto, pitches for limiting state chiefs' term

Congress leader Shashi Tharoor favoured limiting the term of office for state presidents in the party and said Congress should be revived and re-energised to take on BJP in the 2024 general elections. He told media persons, "My message is to revive the party, re-energise it, empower workers, decentralise authority and be in touch with the people. This, I believe will make Congress politically fit to take on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his BJP in the 2024 (general) election."

During his interaction with media persons at Sathyamurthy Bhavan, Tharoor said that he has respect and great regard for party veteran Mallikarjun Kharge, adding that the contest was friendly based on different approaches to face the BJP and not ideological, as both hailed from the same party.

Releasing his poll manifesto, the Congress MP said, "We need to reform the way our party functions. We need to bring young people in the party and give them real authority. At the same time, we should give greater respect to hardworking and long-serving Karyakartas."

The key points highlighted in the manifesto include decentralising powers, strengthening the party at the booth level, utilising general secretaries for nation-building activities while dispensing their services as state in-charges, and trusting state presidents by giving them a free hand in decision-making besides limiting their term of office.

Tharoor said, "We need to reiterate the core convictions of the Congress. We are the party of inclusive India, a party that believes in equal rights and is against oppression. This is the idea we stood and fought for and we must reiterate it," adding If elected as president, he would revive certain institutions like the parliamentary board. 

He said the manifesto focuses on the need for Congress to return to the ethos of social work, adding "The party is not a machine to fight elections once in five years, but it should live along with and serve the people... We should connect with the people and work with them."

The Thiruvananthapuram MP said that popular connection with people is fundamental and this was being illustrated by the successful Bharat Jodo Yatra of party leader Rahul Gandhi.

No one will know who voted for whom: Shashi Tharoor 

Thiruvananthapuram MP made an aggressive bid for the party's top post and said that it was a secret ballot and there would be no way to find out which state voted for which candidate. Talking to reporters in told reporters in Thiruvananthapuram on Thursday, he said "It is a secret ballot. No one will know who voted for whom. There is also no way of knowing which state PCC voted for which candidate as all the ballots would be mixed together before being counted." 

On queries regarding senior Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala's open announcement that he would campaign for veteran party leader Mallikarjun Kharge, Tharoor said Chennithala was not an office-bearer in Kerala PCC.

Regarding KPCC chief K Sudhakaran openly declaring he would support Kharge for the party chief's post, he said the announcement was made before the election related guidelines were issued by Congress, adding that some of his colleagues have informed the election authority about certain things which they felt were not right, but they were not going to raise those issues beyond that.

Before leaving for Tamil Nadu to continue his poll campaign there, Tharoor said, "Our intention is to unify and strengthen the party and not to malign its efforts towards holding a democratic election for the party chief's post." 

More than 9,000 Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) delegates form the electorate. Notably, the counting of votes for the polls would be taken up on October 19 and the results are expected the same day. 

(With IANS/PTI Inputs)

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