Thiruvananthapuram: Shashi Tharoor's removal as Congress national spokesperson, at the behest of the State unit of the party, appears to be a rare occasion when Congress leaders in the state buried their legendary factionalism and sought action as one single unit.
The action has come after Tharoor accepted Prime Minister Narendra Modi's invite to join the Clean India campaign by saying he was honoured. And the moment this became public, various groups of the Congress party here went hammer and tongs against the two-time Thiruvananthapuram Lok Sabha member, whose entry into electoral politics in 2009 had irked many hopefuls eyeing the prestigious seat.
State Congress president V.M.Sudheeran said the action was apt. Incidentally, it was at a meeting here last week that he presided over that Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala together decided to report to the party high command the anger in the party here following Tharoor's frequent praise of Modi.
State party spokesperson Rajmohan Unnithan welcomed the decision to sack Tharoor from party post and said for some time now Modi has been constantly attacking their national president Sonia Gandhi and vice president Rahul Gandhi and Tharoor as the party spokesperson should have been the first person to have launched a counter attack.
"Instead of doing that, he has been praising Modi and that's in no way acceptable to the party here. The least that Tharoor could have done was before accepting Modi's invitation, he could have sought the permission of Sonia Gandhi, which he did not do," said Unnithan.
But popular media critic S.Jayashankar said it is strange to see the way the Congress party functions.
"The fact of the matter is the disciplinary committee of the party which took action against Tharoor is headed by A.K. Antony and none has forgotten how he and Chandy here dumped Indira Gandhi in the late '70s. If this is the way the Congress party is going to go ahead, then don't be surprised to see their strength come down further from 44 to 22," said Jayasankar.