Kerala: Shashi Tharoor trend emerging or Shashi Tharoor’s sashay just good optics? | Kochi News – Times of India

KOCHI:The December 3 mega Youth Congress rally at Ezhatupetta in Kottayam district, where Shashi Tharoor will be the star attraction, indicates that the Thiruvananthapuram MP’s Malabar tour has created a momentum of its own and could possibly lead to a statewide churn. However, long-time Congress watchers think otherwise.
No longer the Congress first family’s blue-eyed boy after throwing his hat in the ring for party president, Tharoor, these Congress watchers contend, is trying to carve out a space for himself in state politics and it happens that several people and factions are supporting him at this juncture, possibly to promote their own vested interests.
Meanwhile, the AICC has again refused to intervene in the rift among the state party leaders over Tharoor’s Malabar tour. “The situation has not come for the AICC to intervene… The KPCC itself can resolve if any issue has come up,” said Tariq Anwar, All India Congress Committee general secretary in charge of Kerala. The AICC general secretary is reaching Kozhikode on Friday for the foundation stone laying ceremony of the new office of the district Congress committee president. Though scheduled two months ago, his visit assumes significance now. Asked if he will meet party leaders during his visit to the state, Anwar said: “If needed I will be meeting leaders there and we will discuss.”
Sources said leaders upset over Tharoor’s tour were likely to express their concerns to the AICC leader in Kozhikode. “We have already communicated our displeasure to the party high command. We have not given any written statement as they have not asked us to give any report,” a senior party leader said. These leaders are also expected to point out that the Thiruvananthapuram MP was not cooperating with any party campaign in the state.
For the past 14 years, Tharoor has never been close to the party leadership in the state and he was seen as a leader who had an overwhelming support of the Gandhi family. His Malabar tour has taken the state leadership by surprise but given that his equation with the Gandhi family seems to have been strained after the recent AICC president election, it will not be easy for Tharoor to claim a larger space in state politics.
Those opposed to Tharoor are banking on this aspect and they feel the party high command will intervene if Tharoor goes against the interests of the state leadership. Leaders like K C Venugopal and Kodikkunnil Suresh who have considerable influence in the party high command are among Tharoor’s opponents and opposition leader V D Satheesan has the support of these leaders. Satheesan’s outburst against Tharoor has to be seen in this context while there is also an unrest among leaders against the MP who had never taken part in any party campaigns in the state. “The reason is simple. He has never worked with the state leadership in any of the party campaigns or programmes. He always had an independent type of functioning and he had never taken the state leadership into confidence,” a senior Congress leader said.
These leaders contend that Tharoor can never lobby for chief ministership with a strained relationship with both the AICC and state leadership. They also believe that the UDF constituents would never support any rebel movement in the Congress.
It was speculated that Tharoor had visited the Panakkad family to garner support but the IUML doesn’t want to see more to it. “He was attending a function at the civil service academy at Perinthalmanna and he expressed his willingness to meet us. We also thought there was nothing wrong in meeting a leader like Tharoor who has an international stature. There is nothing more than that,” a party leader said.
The UDF constituents are also not happy with the recent developments in the Congress. “We all have a respect for Tharoor, and we always look forward to Tharoor working with the state Congress leadership. The Congress should utilise his services,” a constituent leader said.
However, for the grassroot workers, Tharoor is a crowdpuller. The new leadership of KPCC president K Sudhakaran and Satheesan had given them a hope of putting the party together after consecutive electoral defeats but the recent developments have created an impression that all is not well between these two leaders.

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