Shashi Tharoor had said Prime Minister Narendra Modi should be praised for doing the right things
Tharoor is an MP from Kerala's capital Thiruvananthapuram and a national face of the party
Bengaluru: The Kerala Congress on Tuesday decided to send a notice to its leader Shashi Tharoor, asking for an explanation over his "praise" for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, setting the stage for a direct, official confrontation between the leader and his partymen.
Tharoor, MP from Kerala capital Thiruvananthapuram and a national face of the party, has been facing flak throughout last week from top Congress leaders in Kerala over his remark that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should be praised for doing the right things. State leaders are unhappy as the remarks come at a time when the Congress is gearing up for a crucial by-election in an assembly seat in the capital, Vattiyoorkavu, where the party is engaged in a prestige battle with Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The battle also reveals the bitter relations between senior leaders and the three-time MP. During the Lok Sabha elections in May, reportedly following complaints from Tharoor of non-cooperation from senior leaders with his election campaign, Congress central leadership had appointed Maharashtra leader Nana Patole as an observor.
On Tuesday, Congress state chief Mullappally Ramachandran told reporters in Kannur that several party leaders and workers have approached the leadership with complaints against Tharoor's "Modi praise", prompting him to seek an official explanation.
"Congress workers across the country have expressed extreme displeasure over the statement made by Tharoor. Party leaders have also approached me with written complaints. Hence, the KPCC has decided to seek an explanation from Tharoor in this regard," Ramachandran said.
In response, Tharoor tweeted: "I've been a strong critic of the Modi government and I hope a constructive one. My staunch defence of inclusive values and constitutional principles has won me 3 elections. I urge my fellow Congressmen to respect my approach even when they don't agree with it."
Ramachandran added that the state party organ, the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee or the KPCC, would submit a report on the matter to its national counterpart All India Congress Committee (AICC), which will take the final call.
Tharoor and his colleague Abhishek Manu Singhvi had last week supported senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh’s remarks at a public event that not recognising Modi's work and "demonising" him all the time was not going to help. Officially, Congress had distanced itself from the views of leaders. Tharoor had defended his position on Sunday.
"As you know, I have argued for six years now that @narendramodi should be praised whenever he says or does the right thing, which would add credibility to our criticisms whenever he errs. I welcome others in Oppn coming around to a view for which I was excoriated at the time!" he had tweeted.