Tharoor wants Mayor Arya to resign, takes indirect dig at Satheesan

Shashi Tharoor MP with the Congress councillors who have been staging an indefinite agitation demanding the resignation of Mayor Arya Rajendran in Thiruvananthapuam on Thursday. Photo: Manorama

In what looked like a riposte to opposition leader V D Satheesan's insinuation that he was indifferent to local Congress struggles, Shashi Tharoor MP made a rousing visit to the 'pandal' near the Thiruvananthapuram Corporation where Congress councillors have been staging an indefinite agitation demanding the resignation of Mayor Arya Rajendran.

Right away he took an indirect dig at Satheesan. "Perhaps some people have forgotten. I was the first leader to say that the Mayor should resign. I made my demand on November 7, and it was reported in all the dailies," Tharoor told the gathering of excited Congress workers.

It also sounded like he was keen to tell the workers and Congress leaders that he had not kept aloof as alleged. "Now it is 17 days since I had made the demand and I have not changed my stand. The party should know where I stand on this issue," Tharoor said.

The Thiruvananthapuram MP's first visit to the agitation site happened on the 19th day of the strike. As if to account for his absence from the anti-Mayor agitation till now, Tharoor said he was not in Thiruvananthapuram for some time. "But in the first opportunity I got after my return, I came here," Tharoor said.

He gave three reasons why the Mayor should resign. One, he said the Mayor had written to the CPM district secretary seeking a list of candidates to be appointed in the nearly 300 vacancies in the Corporation when unemployment was severe in Kerala.

Two, he said she had failed to function as a people's mayor and instead was acting like a representative of the party she belonged to. "Even after coming to a constitutional position, she is behaving like a party representative," Tharoor said. "Not only is this unfair but is also a violation of the oath of office. It is a betrayal of the youth of the state. We can never condone this," he said.

Three, he pointed to the ruthless and cruel police action against what he called democratic protests. He said KSU and Youth Congress activists were beaten up mercilessly and jailed indefinitely.

"This, too, is something that we can never forgive," Tharoor said.

The Thiruvananthapuram MP also made it clear that he had no plans to take over the leadership of the anti-Mayor agitation. "The councillors and the DCC will do that role," he said.

Reporters at the venue reminded him of the accusation that he had always been shy of criticising Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. Tharoor, however, managed to steer clear. "When he does anything wrong, I will speak against him," he said and rushed from the venue saying he was late to another function.

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