The Congress in Kerala on Saturday moved cautiously to contain the ripples created in the state party unit following the controversial remarks made by a senior party leader against Thiruvananthapuram MP Shashi Tharoor with a section rallying behind the latter.
Tharoor, who came under attack from party working president Kodikkunnil Suresh on Friday for joining the"group of 23" that wrote to Sonia Gandhi seeking urgent organisational overhaul, has received unprecedented support from a significant section in the party's state unit with senior MLAs and parliamentarians expressing displeasure overthe remarks.
Suresh, who is also Congress chief whip in the Lok Sabha, had called Tharoor a "guest artist" and asked himto follow party policies. UDF convener Benny Behanan, who is also a Lok Sabha member of the party, on Saturday expressed displeasure over the personal attack targeting Tharoor even as Suresh expressed regret for his remarks.
"Tharoor is not the opponent of the party.The Congress should unitedly fight against the BJP at theCentre and the CPI(M) in the state," Behanan told reporters.
As more and more leaders started coming outopenly in support of Tharoor, the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee president Mullapally Ramachandran issued a statement asking them not to make any public statements on organisational matters. Rallying behind Tharoor, senior party MLA PT Thomas on Friday had criticised the move to weaken Tharoor.
KPCC Vice President VD Satheesan had said "Tharoor is not our enemy.The CPI(M) and the BJP are our enemies." Party's young faces including T Siddique and KS Sabarinathan also came out in support of Tharoor. Expressing regret over his remarks against Tharoor, Suresh on Saturday said he didn't intend to cause any personal hurt to the Thiruvananthapuram MP.
He, however, said his disagreement with Tharoor still persists over the issue. Tharoor has not reacted to the fresh controversy surrounding him in the Congress state unit.
After the CWC meet, Tharoor had said that it was the duty of all to work together in the interest of the Congress once the party chief has stated that the matter is"behind us."