THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The discontent within the Congress spilled onto the street on Friday with former KPCC president Mullappally Ramachandran criticizing Congress MP Shashi Tharoor in strong terms for his stance on the semi high-speed rail project (Silverline), while former Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala sprang a surprise by supporting Tharoor on the issue.
As many as 17 UDF MPs from Kerala had written to Union Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw urging him to direct the state government to stop all activities regarding the project immediately. However, Thiruvananthapuram MP Tharoor refrained from signing the petition as he was not fully convinced by the demands of fellow MPs. While commenting on this, Mullappally said Tharoor is weakening the party’s stance against the semi-high speed project which is intended to help the state government.
“Tharoor is bound to take a stance in tune with the party discipline as the party discipline is applicable for him as well. Even as a small child knows the side-effects of the semi-high speed rail project, the stance of a person who takes everything with research aptitude, that he was yet to study the project is somewhat equal to challenging the commonsense of the public,” said Mullappally.
He had supported the decision to lease out the Trivandrum International Airport to Adani, putting the party on the back foot. If he doesn’t know how to work in tune with the party stance and discipline, the party has a responsibility to teach him the Congress discipline, he said. On the other hand, Ramesh Chennithala who took on Tharoor on several occasions in the past over a host of issues has come out in support of Tharoor this time.
The UDF stance is that everyone should join hands in the case of development leaving aside the political differences. Tharoor has not struck a dissenting note on the issue. What he said was that he needs more time before taking a stance on the issue. He is not a full-time politician but an international figure. In the case of K-Rail, the UDF has taken a decision after a panel headed by M K Muneer studied the project which found the project is not feasible for the state.
Meanwhile, Tharoor on Friday tweeted (he)“enjoyed discussing Kerala’s development with CM Pinarayi Vijayan. On some issues, it is necessary to put political differences aside and get on with growth. The young people of our state deserve opportunities that the current economic situation does not offer them,” he said in the tweet. Tharoor on Monday said that he was not ready to sign the petition submitted to the Railway Minister by the UDF MPs against the state government’s K-Rail project. The MP’s justification was that he will not oppose the Silver Line without studying it in detail and he needs more time to understand the project.