Kerala Congress chief steps in after party leader attacks Shashi Tharoor
Shashi Tharoor, one of the 23 dissenters who wrote to Sonia Gandhi for changes in the party, has been labelled a “guest artist and immature politician” by a senior leader of the Kerala Congress.
Kodikunnil Suresh’s comments angered many young leaders who rallied behind Tharoor and took to social media in a big way to vent their anger. Later, Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) chief Mullappally Ramachandran, who was first to attack Tharoor, requested all leaders to treat the issue as closed and not to air opinions freely.
“Tharoor’s contributions are immense and he is an inspiration for youngsters. No doubt, he is a global citizen. His contacts really helped the state during the trying time of the pandemic. He might have different opinions on issues like airport privatisation but these things will have to be sorted out through discussion,” young legislator KS Sabarinathan wrote on Facebook supporting him.
“It is not good to single out and attack a person like Tharoor. Need of the hour is unity. The Kerala unit always stood with the position taken by senior leader AK Antony. But it is not fair to attack Tharoor like this,” said another legislator PT Thomas.
What really angered some of these leaders is blunt criticism of Kodikunnil Suresh.
“Tharoor is not a politician. For the party, he’s only a guest artist. He is immature and yet to learn to work well within the party framework. It is not right for him to take different positions thinking that he is a global citizen,” said Suresh, criticising his fellow MP from the state.
Earlier, the PCC chief and senior leader K Muralidharan had also slammed Tharoor.
The party has 15 MPs from the state, including Rahul Gandhi - who is representing Wayanad in Lok Sabha.
“I am not a global citizen. But the so-called letter at this juncture created a lot of confusion and it gave a good stick to our opponents. It should have been avoided,” said Muralidharan, son of party legend late K Karunakaran, adding Sonia Gandhi led the party effectively in trying times and the party’s future was secure in her hands.
Before the letter controversy, many senior leaders were upset with Tharoor for his “daring apolitical positions”.
Last week, when the Centre decided to lease out Thiruvananthapuram airport to a private firm Congress leaders opposed the move along with the ruling front. However, Tharoor supported it, saying it was much-needed for the development of his constituency. He enjoys good support especially among youngsters due to his proactive position on development and other issues.
When the airport issue fuelled much anger, he reminded party leaders that he was consistent with his position from day one and he can’t change his opinions to suit occasions.
The party was also upset when he congratulated state health minister KK Shailaja when she was lauded by some international publications for her spirited fight against Covid-19.