The Congress in Kerala has decided not to take action against Shashi Tharoor, who appears to have enraged a section of the leadership by adding his voice to a minor but growing chorus within the party against demonising PM Narendra Modi all the time and for acknowledging his government’s good deeds, if any.
Though a sensible move under the circumstances, the party’s decision to accept his explanation—an aggressive defence of his stance—and let the matter rest, came as a bit of a surprise, especially after the build-up which saw leader after leader questioning the MP for “praising” Modi. One even asked him to join the BJP.
Tharoor and controversies go hand in hand. And, he isn’t exactly popular among the Congress leaders in Kerala, who treat him like an outsider although he has won from Thiruvananthapuram thrice in a row.
That’s exactly why his transgressions, even seemingly innocuous ones, are underlined by state leaders and played up for the benefit of the central leadership.
The fact that he is the most visible among the Congress leaders from Kerala at the national level, and the most vocal in Parliament, also doesn’t help. But the strategy seems to have backfired this time. Looking at how the matter was put to rest so abruptly, it’s fair to assume that the state leadership was told to back off and not do anything to alienate a leader who the high command considers as valuable.
While the episode once again highlighted that the resentment in the state Congress towards Tharoor transcends the deep factional divide, party leaders should have been wise enough to not kick up a fuss over a statement that came across as a mature political stance.
It’s difficult to believe that Tharoor was trying to endear himself to the BJP by making a statement in praise of Modi.
While some Congress leaders may have their reasons for targeting Tharoor, KPCC president Mullappally Ramachandran appears to have jumped the gun in asking Tharoor for an explanation.
If the KPPC ended up burning its fingers in the episode, it has itself to blame.