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Sunday, September 27, 2020

Kerala MP calls Tharoor ‘guest artist’ in Congress with no ‘political maturity’

The pointed remarks come days after Tharoor, the MP from Thiruvananthapuram, signed a letter with 22 other party leaders calling for sweeping changes within the Congress including a 'full time and effective leadership.' 

By: Express Web Desk | Kochi | Updated: August 28, 2020 7:29:21 pm
Kerala Congress, Shashi Tharoor, Shashi Tharoor guest artist, Congress crisis, Congress leaders letter to Sonia Gandhi, letter to Sonia Gandhi, India news, Indian Express"Shashi Tharoor had come into the Congress as a guest artist. Even today, he stands as a guest artist," added Suresh.

Senior Congress leader and Lok Sabha MP from Mavelikkara, Kodikunnil Suresh, Friday mocked colleague Shashi Tharoor, calling him a ‘guest artist’ within the party, having gained no ‘political maturity’ over the years. The pointed remarks come days after Tharoor, the MP from Thiruvananthapuram, signed a letter with 22 other party leaders calling for sweeping changes within the Congress including a ‘full time and effective leadership.’

Speaking to reporters, Suresh, who’s also one of the working-presidents of the Kerala state unit, said, “He (Tharoor) has not learned to conduct party or parliamentary activities within the party framework. That’s why he jumps into action before thinking…he may be a global citizen. He may be an intelligent and wise man. But it’s clear from each of his actions that he’s politically immature….as an MP of the Congress, he must show deference to the party. It’s not right for him to take a different stand thinking he’s a global citizen.”

Read | Letter vs letter: Show of loyalty via copy and paste

“Shashi Tharoor had come into the Congress as a guest artist. Even today, he stands as a guest artist,” added Suresh, who’s also one of the working presidents of the state unit.

Congress state chief Mullappally Ramachandran also appeared to chastise Tharoor for speaking out of line, indicating the state unit’s closing of ranks against the MP. “One should not make public statements and complicate matters. It would mean weakening the Congress further,” he said.

Read | ‘Non-Gandhi Cong chiefs couldn’t restore lost ground. That’s the reality. Letter will help BJP’: Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury

Tharoor, the three-time Lok Sabha MP from Thiruvananthapuram, and former Rajya Sabha deputy chairman PJ Kurien were the two leaders from Kerala who were signatories to the letter sent to party interim president Sonia Gandhi calling for reforms including constitution of a central parliamentary board, elections to Congress organisation at all levels and greater empowerment of state units. Other leaders who signed the letter include Ghulam Nabi Azad, Kapil Sibal, Anand Sharma and Bhupinder Singh Hooda.

Following the letter, the Congress Working Committee (CWC) met and took the decision that Gandhi would continue as interim president for six months during which a new chief has to be selected. A committee would also be set up to look into the issues raised by the 23 leaders in the letter.

Don’t miss from Explained | Congress in turmoil: Past occasions and what’s different now

Among those who pledged support to the leadership of the Gandhis was Ramachandran on behalf of the Kerala state unit, virtually sidestepping the objections raised by the 23 leaders including Tharoor.

The stand of the Kerala unit of the Congress on the privatisation of Thiruvananthapuram airport also stood in contrast to Tharoor who welcomed it’s handover to Adani Group by the Centre. While the Congress joined hands with the Left to pass a resolution in the Assembly against the privatisation move, Tharoor said it is the only way the airport would flourish.

Read | Cuts across states, age: Why it’s hard for Congress to brush the pushback under carpet

“My position on the airport has been consistent since before the elections. I am not a politician who says one thing to the voters and something else afterward for political convenience. Had my colleagues consulted me before taking a negative stand, I would have explained my views to them,” he tweeted.

“I am speaking in the best interests of my constituency. As its MP that is my job. The people of Thiruvananthapuram want a first-class airport worthy of the city’s history, status and potential. In this context, a decision, however controversial, is preferable to the long delay we have suffered. The reality is that a private entity running the operations competitively is the only way this airport could flourish. Whoever it is, the ownership of the land and airport as well as the responsibilities of the ATC, Security, Customs and Immigration still remains with the Govt agencies”.

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