Senior leader of the Congress and third-time MP from Thiruvananthapuram Lok Sabha seat, Shashi Tharoor has said that a unified party was the need of the hour and the petty group politics did not have any place in the state unit.
Tharoor was addressing a function at Bodhigram in Pathanamthitta on Sunday. The former UN diplomat said the party needed to be united and there was no need for ‘A’ and ‘I’ groups in the Congress of Kerala. He was referring to the two prominent groups in the state Congress which have always been calling the shots in the party hierarchy.
While former Chief Minister Oomen Chandy was leading the ‘A’ group, former state home minister, Ramesh Chennithala was heading ‘I’ group.
He said that he was updating the respective District Congress Committee (DCC) presidents during his visit to the respective districts.
Thaoor has drawn flak from several sections of senior Congress leaders, including state opposition leader V.D. Satheeshan that he had to intimate the respective DCC presidents on his visit to those districts. Kottayam DCC president Nattakam Suresh and Kozhikode DCC president, Praveen Kumar had said earlier that they did not know of Tharoor’s visit, and the DCC president’s not knowing about the visit of a senior leader in their respective districts was not in lieu of the organisational hierarchy. Joining issue with Nattakam Suresh, Kottayam DCC president, Tharoor said that his office had intimidated Kottayam DCC president of his visit, and added that there was proof as to who had called and when they had called.
The statement of Natakam Suresh had drawn criticism from senior Congress leader and Member of Parliament from Vadakara seat, K. Muraleedharan. Muraleedharan said that whatever a DCC president had to say, he should tell it within the party. DCC president, Nattakam Suresh retorted by stating that this was applicable to K. Mualeedharan as well.
The Congress in Kerala is divided over the entry of Tharoor into the state’s active politics.
The alliance partner of Congress in Kerala, the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) said that it was unfortunate to have such a widespread controversy over Tharoor’s visit to various districts of the state.
A senior leader of the IUML while speaking to IANS said, “We will raise the issue in the UDF meeting which is to be held tomorrow before the Assembly session. This is affecting the UDF’s strength and Congress must refrain from group wars.”