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Kerala: Shashi Tharoor praises Pinarayi Vijayan’s push for development, Congress miffed

Even as he was under fire for not being a signatory to the petition, Shashi Tharoor on Thursday stuck to his stand and went on praising Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s push for development.

Written by Shaju Philip | Thiruvananthapuram |
Updated: December 18, 2021 8:49:31 am
Congress Lok Sabha MP Shashi Tharoor with CM Pinarayi Vijayan (Twitter/Shashi Tharoor)

Congress MP Shashi Tharoor has come under fire after not sticking to the party line with regards to a proposed semi-high speed rail corridor in Kerala.

The Congress has been vehemently opposing the rail corridor proposed by the CPI(M)-led government, with all party MPs from the state sending Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw a petition against the same.

Tharoor is the only Congress MP from the state to not sign the petition, and in fact has praised Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s push for development.

On Thursday, he tweeted, “Enjoyed discussing Kerala’s development with CM @vijayanpinarayi. On some issues it is necessary to put political differences aside & get on with growth. The young people of our state deserve opportunities that the current economic situation does not offer them.”

In another tweet, referring to the opening of Lulu Mall in Thiruvananthapuram, Tharoor said “In my speech on the occasion I stressed the importance of Kerala offering a hospitable environment to investors in order to generate jobs and growth. ‘Kerala must send the message that it is open for business’, I argued. The welcome given to Lulu must also be extended to MSMEs.”

The Congress leader recalled that he had attempted to attract many international investors to Kerala after his stint at the United Nations but “the investors went to neighboring states citing strikes and hartals in Kerala. Now, our chief minister is trying to change that perspective and I feel that it’s a good thing. We have to generate employment here in Kerala and for that we need to instill confidence among the investors.”

Tharoor’s reluctance to sign the petition against the rail corridor, coupled with his tweet that “political differences should be set aside on some issues”, has created a furore in the Congress in Kerala.

State Congress president K Sudhakaran on Friday said the party would look into Tharoor’s stand. “It is not proper to react before hearing Tharoor. If his stand is against that of the party, he would be asked to correct… It is not beneficial to stand against party line. I hope Tharoor would understand it,” Sudhakaran said.

Former state Congress chief Mullappally Ramachandran mounted a scathing attack on Tharoor, saying the party high command should give the MP lessons in party discipline. “We cannot accept the stand of Tharoor… His approach has to be seen as a secret bid to help the government,” Ramachandran said.

This is not the first time that Tharoor has aired an opinion on investment and projects different to party line — when the Adani Group won the bid to run the international airport in Thiruvananthapuram, Tharoor backed it, and both Congress and CPI(M) leaders in Kerala had criticised the MP for his stand on the airport.

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