Congress edgy as Tharoor kicks off his second round

MP gets rousing reception at Youth Congress event in Erattupetta, meets Catholic bishops
Shashi Tharoor being accorded a warm reception by Youth Congress activists at Erattupetta on Saturday | Express
Shashi Tharoor being accorded a warm reception by Youth Congress activists at Erattupetta on Saturday | Express

KOTTAYAM: After his successful Malabar tour, which ruffled quite a few feathers in the state Congress, Shashi Tharoor has begun the next leg of his ‘public outreach’ programme in Central Travancore, attending various events and meeting Catholic bishops in Kottayam district.

The Thiruvananthapuram MP, who arrived in the district to inaugurate a mega meet of the Youth Congress (YC), was given a rousing reception in Erattupetta town. Endorsing his acceptance among the youth, hundreds of people participated in the procession held in the night in the town.

However, Tharoor’s participation in the YC event has not gone down well with the party district leadership. While Kottayam DCC president Nattakom Suresh hit out at Tharoor, alleging he was not informed about the MP’s visit to the district, Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan, MLA, skipped the Youth Congress programme. The reason Thiruvanchoor cited was that being the chairman of the party disciplinary committee, his participation in the event may be interpreted in a wrong way. However, Tharoor, who is well aware that the sword of party discipline hangs over him, tactfully dismissed all the ‘concerns’ of the party’s district leadership.

“I have been an MP for 14 years and it is a routine practice to intimate the DCC concerned during my visit there. There is no lapse on my part or my office regarding the Youth Congress programme in Erattupetta,” said Tharoor.

Never worked against party: Tharoor

“I never worked against the party or violated the party line. Moreover, I came to attend a programme of Youth Congress, which is an important part of Congress,” said Tharoor. Though the YC programme was the highlight of the visit, Tharoor extended his ‘support base’ widening activities, which he commenced during his Malabar visit, to the Central Travancore by visiting Catholic bishops in Kanjirappally and Pala.He will attend various programmes in Pathanamthitta and Ernakulam districts on Sunday.Tharoor, who arrived in Kottayam on Saturday afternoon, first visited Bishop Mar Jose Pulickal of catholic diocese of Kanjirappally. It is learnt that he discussed current political developments during his talks with the bishop. Later, he held a meeting with Pala Bishop Joseph Kallarangatt.

Tharoor, who went to Adoor in Pathanamthitta for attending a programme on Sunday, will come back to Changanassery in the afternoon to meet the archbishop of Changanassery. He will also attend a youth conclave to be held as part of the valedictory function of the Golden Jubilee Celebrations of Yuvadeepthi SMYM under the archeparchy of Changanassery.

In a bid to woo the support of the Latin community, a consistent vote bank in his constituency, Tharoor will attend a meeting organised by the Christian Service Society International, an organisation which has the backing of the Latin Catholic community in Kochi on Sunday. His participation in the event assumes significance in the backdrop of his pro-Vizhinjam port stand, to which the Latin Church had aired its open dissent. On Monday, Tharoor will have a breakfast meeting with major archbishop Cardinal George Alancherry in Ernakulam.

The state Congress leadership has decided to freeze the inclusion of Shaji Kaliyath from Malappuram as a KPCC member. The reason cited is that he had allegedly signed Shashi Tharoor’s nomination paper for the recently held Congress president election.

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