Toe party line or will be out of the party: KPCC chief warns Shashi Tharoor
Kerala Congress MP Shashi Tharoor finds himself in a pickle as he may be shown the door in the Congress party if he fails to toe his party’s line over the mega SilverLine Rail project
Kerala Congress MP Shashi Tharoor finds himself in a soup as he may be shown the door in the Congress party if he fails to toe his party’s line over the mega SilverLine Rail project.
The Congress party members in Kerala, who are actively opposing the proposed mega Thiruvananthapuram-Kasargod semi highspeed rail project, are miffed with Tharoor’s stand on the issue. The Congress MP has shied away from signing any petition against the project and has maintained that he requires more time to study it.
On Sunday (December 26), the Kerala Congress unit chief, K Sudhakaran launched a bitter and public attack on Tharoor. He told reporters in Kannur that Shashi Tharoor is a “single man in the party” and that every person is entitled to their opinion. He can maintain his opinion and protect it but finally he should obey the party, said Sudhakaran, adding that if he agrees to the party line, he will continue in the party.
“If he is not agreeing to the party line, he will not be in the party. That’s all it is,” Sudhakaran told reporters.
Further, stating that one Shashi Tharoor isn’t Congress, he said that whether it is Shashi Tharoor or K Sudhakaran, no one has given the right to party MPs to oppose party decisions. The MP is yet to get on the right track of Indian politics, pointed out the KPCC president.
Many senior Congress leaders are miffed with Tharoor’s stand and expressed their resentment. Tharoor also did not sign on a petition filed by the Congress MPs from Kerala to the railway ministry objecting to the project.
The Congress has also done a detailed study on the project with the help of experts about two months back and took a decision to protest against it. The Congress and activists have objected to the ₹ 63,941 crore SilverLine project saying it will cause extensive damage to the ecology, cause massive displacement of people and is overpriced.
Meanwhile, Tharoor had defended his decision of not signing the petition to reporters at Parliament on December 15. Claiming that there is no scope for any misunderstanding, he stated categorically that he had not given any support to this project. “When such a big issue comes, we have a responsibility to discuss this in detail. It’s not about opposing; it’s about asking the important questions,” said the urbane minister.
But Tharoor’s subsequent praise for Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s pro-development approach has angered the Congress.
The 540 kilometre rail project aims at reducing travel time between Thiruvananthapuram in the south and Kasargod in the north to less than four hours. Currently, it takes around ten hours by road and rail. The Pinarayi government however is going ahead with the project since it will bring development and economic progress to the region.
There is a demand from the Left Front ally CP to make the detailed project report of the rail project public.