THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A day after MP Shashi Tharoor filed his nomination papers for the Congress presidential election, the state unit of the Congress is divided on supporting him. While party state president K Sudhakaran, Opposition Leader V D Satheesan and his predecessor Ramesh Chennithala openly batted for the party’s official candidate, Mallikarjuna Kharge, several second rung and young leaders took to their social media accounts endorsing the flamboyant Tharoor.
Following scrutiny by central election committee chairman Madhusudan Mistry, the nomination papers of Jharkhand minister K N Tripathi were rejected, leaving only Kharge and Tharoor in the fray. The top leaders of the state said they want to see a Dalit leader becoming the Congress president.
Satheesan ruled out that Tharoor’s candidature would create division in the party. Chennithala was also quick to react on his “good friend” Tharoor’s candidature. “At this juncture, it is ideal to see Kharge emerging as the Congress president. The party has always appreciated Tharoor’s calibre and used him well,” said Chennithala.
Tharoor does not think so, though. In a TV channel interview on Saturday, he revealed his unhappiness at the party underutilising him. Later in the evening, Tharoor also released the list of 60 leaders from across the country who had proposed his name in the nomination papers. Thirteen of them are from the state, including Kozhikode MP M K Raghavan, Thampanoor Ravi, K C Abu, K Balakrishnan Kidave, Ratnavally Teacher, M Nanu Master, K M Ummar, N K Abdul Rahman, V Shaji Kaliyath, K S Sabarinadhan, Kalliyoor Divakaran and P Mohanraj. Interestingly, several youth leaders like MP Hibi Eden, Youth Congress state vice-president K S Sabarinadhan, Rijil Makutty and YC state general secretary Abin Varkey and KSU state president K M Abhijith took to social rallying behind Tharoor. The message is clear that the Thiruvananthapuram MP has the wholehearted support among the youth leaders of the state. Sabarinadhan told TNIE that there is a strong current in favour of Tharoor as the ground-level party workers need rejuvenation.
“The KPCC members will have to take cognisance of the strong sentiments at the ground level in favour of a vibrant leader like Tharoor. Whoever wins, the party gets to benefit in the end of the day. I’m confident that the ideas that Tharoor has put forward will resonate. Having the status quo is not a solution,” said Sabarinadhan. Tharoor’s line is to bring about a change in the party by encouraging young blood. Yet, he has also been able to get the support of some senior leaders.