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Amid Row Over Tharoor's Malabar Tour, Kerala Congress Issues 'Strict Directive' to Party Leaders

The party disciplinary committee told leaders not to bypass the respective party forums while attending programmes in each place and directed the leaders to intimate them in advance.
Congress MP Shashi Tharoor. Photo: PTI

Thiruvananthapuram: The disciplinary panel of the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) on Saturday issued strict directive to its leaders not to bypass the respective party forums while attending programmes in each place and directed the leaders to intimate them in advance.

Senior party leader and MLA Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan, who heads the panel, said there is no objection for anyone to visit any place and hold party campaigns but it should be done only with the knowledge of party forums there including the District Congress Committees (DCC).

This notice comes in the wake of a brewing controversy over party leader and Thiruvananthapuram MP Shashi Tharoor’s recent Malabar tour.

However, Radhakrishnan made it clear that the disciplinary panel did not receive any specific complaint regarding Tharoor’s recent tour and so there was no need to give him any individual direction in this regard.

“We did not receive any complaint in connection with Tharoor. But the party in general has a decision in this regard. It is an institutional precedent to inform the respective party forums in advance about the programmes being attended by leaders,” he told the media.

The very thought that such forums were bypassed (by the leaders) would erode the strength of the party and so the leaders should take them into faith and inform them in advance before attending events, Radhakrishnan explained.

The senior leader said as the head of the disciplinary panel, he was just informing this to all party members.

“As there is no complaint against Tharoor, it would be an insult to call him in person and inform him about this directive. It is a general decision and everyone is equally responsible to abide by it,” Radhakrishnan added.

Tariq Anwar, AICC general secretary in-charge of Kerala who is in Kozhikode to take part in a function, also said that Congress is a national party which follows certain norms and the leadership wants every leader to follow it.

Any leader or any Member of Parliament can go to any place and he/she is free to move, Anwar said.

“At the same time, we expect that the norms of the party should be retained. And, anyone who wants to visit somewhere, some district or some block, should take the district committee, the block committee or the PCC in confidence,” he said, adding that that is the style of working of the Congress.

Tharoor’s recent Malabar tour seems to have rattled a significant section in Congress in the state with a few of them sensing an “agenda” behind his move.

His opponents in the party feel that through his programmes Tharoor was trying to position himself as an ideal chief ministerial candidate of the Congress-led UDF for the 2026 Assembly polls to end the rule of the CPI(M)-led LDF, which has been in power in the state since 2016.

Without naming Tharoor, Leader of Opposition in the state assembly V D Satheesan had said that any kind of sectarianism or parallel activities would not be allowed in the party and warned that such moves would be dealt with “seriously”.

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