Follow Congress line or get out, PCC chief K Sudhakaran warns Shashi Tharoor on K-Rail row

Sudhakaran and Tharoor
K Sudhakaran, Shashi Tharoor

In what sounded like a strict warning to Shashi Tharoor, MP, over his stance on the K-Rail project, Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee president K Sudhakaran on Sunday said those who refuse to follow the party line would have to move out.

“Shashi Tharoor is only one man in the party. If he follows the party line he will remain within the party. Otherwise, not. That's it,” Sudhakaran said at a press meet in Kannur.

He was reacting to a question on Tharoor's position on the CPM-led Kerala government's ambitious K-Rail project. The Thiruvananthapuram MP has abstained from signing a letter opposing the project, saying he needed more time to study it.

He, however, made it clear that not signing the letter did not mean that he supported the project. In an article written following the controversy, Tharoor had suggested that the UDF was blindly opposing all development projects in the state.

Besides, Tharoor also lauded the developmental initiatives of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in a private function, irking his party colleagues in the state.

“Everyone may have their personal opinion, but no MP with party membership has been given the right to reject a party decision. Be it Shashi Tharoor or K Sudhakaran,” the PCC chief said in Kannur. He said a written explanation has been sought from Tharoor on the K-Rail issue. Sudhakaran said he did not think that Tharoor had any hidden agenda in the matter.

Earlier, former KPCC president Mullappally Ramachadran had demanded action against Tharoor for contradicting the party view on the project. The Congress has been on a highly volatile campaign against the high-speed rail project citing concerns over the environmental and financial damage the project would inflict. The project is proposed to be completed in five years', with an investment of around Rs 1 lakh crore.

This is not the first time Tharoor has opposed the Congress's stance in Kerala. Last year, he had supported the Centre's decision to lease out the Thiruvananthapuram International Airport to the Adani Group even as his party strongly opposed it. Being a part of what is known as the G-23 group in Congress, Tharoor is among those who have called for sweeping changes in the party's functioning at the national level.

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