New Delhi [India], September 30 (ANI): Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Friday said he will not withdraw his nomination for the party president after Mallikarjun Kharge entered the contest for the chief of the party.
"Those who would like to continue the status quo would not be inclined to vote for me because I represent change, a different approach, and a vision to take the party forward in a different way, as for some years we've been suffering setbacks," Tharoor said while addressing the media after filing his nomination at the AICC office in the national capital.
He further called Mallikarjun Kharge, the Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha who also filed his nomination today as the "Bhishma Pitamah" of Congress and said he would not say anything negative about Kharge and other party leaders like Digvijaya Singh.
"We're not enemies/rivals, we're colleagues and we're interested in seeing party going forward... LoP RS Mallikarjun Kharge is the 'Bhishma Pitamah' of our party. Let party workers decide how to proceed. I won't say anything negative about Kharge, Digvijaya Singh, Tripathi," said Tharoor.
He reiterated that his filing of nominations against the other leaders of the party is a "friendly contest" which is not intended to "disrespect anyone".
"Congress President Sonia Gandhi assured me that the party has no official candidate, the Gandhi family will stay neutral in this race and they welcome as many candidates as possible. In that spirit, I put forward my candidacy. It's not to disrespect anyone; a friendly contest," he said.
"(LoP Mallikarjun) Kharge's nomination is welcomed. Many candidates are needed for the party's benefit... I won't pull out of Congress President Election as I won't let down workers from around the country who've gone out of their ways to extend their support to me," the Congress leader added.
Tharoor on Friday filed his nomination for the post of party President at the office of the All India Congress Committee (AICC) in the national capital.
The Thiruvananthapuram MP visited Raj Ghat to pay homage to Mahatma Gandhi.
Earlier, both Digvijaya Singh and Ashok Gehlot stated that they have dropped out of the race.
The former Madhya Pradesh chief minister visited Kharge at his residence this morning. "I told him that I stand by him and can't even think of contesting against him, I will be his proposer," Singh told reporters.
Nominations for the post of Congress president closed at 3 pm today and results will be declared on October 19. (ANI)