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As Shashi Tharoor continues Kerala tour, no signs of Congress disquiet abating

Thiruvananthapuram MP says not indulging in any factional work, will reply if the matter is brought up in disciplinary committee.

Congress leader Shashi Tharoor. (File Photo)

Rumblings are back in the Kerala unit of the Congress over Shashi Tharoor after he embarked on another leg of the state tour on Saturday.

A section of Congress leaders in Kottayam and Pathanamthitta districts has kept away from Tharoor’s functions, alleging that the party was not kept in the loop.

Last month, Tharoor’s north Kerala political outreach programme created an uproar in the party after he was denied a party forum to speak against Sangh Parivar politics, reportedly at the behest of senior leaders. They sensed a threat in the diplomat-turned-politician after he decided to play an active role in state politics. Then, the Congress leadership had wriggled out of a crisis, announcing that there is no ban on Tharoor events, but put a rider that leadership of respective districts and blocks be informed about programmes.

On Saturday, Kottayam District Congress Committee (DCC) president Nattakam Suresh openly came out against Tharoor, who attended two programmes, including a Youth Congress (YC) conference, in the district. Suresh alleged that Tharoor did not inform the district leadership as per the standing instructions to all leaders. Party veteran Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan, who is the chairman of the Congress disciplinary committee, also did not join the YC conference, saying that he does not want to breach the party structure.

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In Kottayam, Tharoor addressed the K M Chandy Foundation function, where educationalist Prof Cyriac Thomas described Tharoor as a future chief minister of Kerala. DCC president Suresh turned up for the programme but left before Tharoor’s speech.

On Sunday, Tharoor remained persona non grata for DCC leadership in Pathanamthitta on the ground that they were not informed about the programme at Bodhi Gram, which is led by KPCC public policy committee chairman John Samuel. However, Pathanamthitta MP Anto Antony and a group of leaders attended the programme, where Tharoor talked about young India.

Although the Tharoor camp claims his programmes are not aimed at carving a group in the party, his political tours in North and Central Kerala have created confusion among the top and second-rung leaders in the party. A few MPs and several youth Congress leaders have already rallied behind Tharoor in the wake of ongoing developments in the state.

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Tharoor on Sunday reiterated that he was not indulging in any factional work, but addressing the party workers and attending the events, which any Congress leader is supposed to do. “I don’t know why this controversy. It was Opposition leader VD Satheesan who wanted to go across Kerala and address people. If the party leadership files a complaint against me in the disciplinary committee, I would reply,’’ he added.

First published on: 05-12-2022 at 08:00 IST
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