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Congress in Kerala bans Tharoor and Thomas from attending CPI(M) seminars

Congress' Kerala unit has said the party had barred its leaders from attending the programme as it was strongly fighting the CPI(M)-led government over the proposed K-Rail project

Constitution and Upadhyay cannot go hand in hand, says Tharoor at JLF

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Press Trust of India Thiruvananthapuram
Acceptance of the CPI(M)'s invitation to attend a seminar being organised as part of its Party Congress has put senior Congress leaders, Shashi Tharoor and K V Thomas, in a dilemma with KPCC chief K Sudhakaran barring them from attending the ruling party's programme.
The Left party has invited Thiruvananthapuram MP, Tharoor and former Union Minister Thomas to attend various seminars ahead of its 23rd Party Congress scheduled to be held at Kannur in the state from April 6-10.
Congress' Kerala unit President K Sudhakaran has said the party had barred its leaders from attending the programme as it was strongly fighting the CPI(M)-led government over the proposed K-Rail project.
However, Tharoor told the media that the topic of the seminar, to which he was invited was not related to any issues pertaining to Kerala or K-Rail.
"The people do not like Congress leaders participating in the programme organised by the CPI(M). The Congress party members despise, loathe such leaders who associate with (Chief Minister) Pinarayi Vijayan, who is moving forward with the K-Rail project. If he (Tharoor) wants to participate, he can. It's his wish. He can take the permission of Sonia Gandhi and do accordingly," Sudhakaran said.
Keen to attend the CPI(M) event, both Tharoor and Thomas are reportedly planning to approach the Congress high command seeking permission of party supremo Sonia Gandhi to attend the programme.
"They had invited me and I accepted. This time they have invited me to take part in a seminar as part of its Party Congress. There is nothing wrong in engaging with political dialogues. And the topic of the seminar is not K-Rail or anything related to Kerala," Tharoor said.
Meanwhile, CPI(M) state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan has said the Left party had invited Congress leaders for various seminars but they were barred by that party's leadership.
"But they don't have any issues in joining hands with the BJP to protest against the state government," Balakrishnan has told the media, referring to the opposition parties opposing the SilverLine project.
He said the Congress was taking stands favouring the BJP.
"It is the BJP's direction not to participate in the CPI(M) programmes. If they (Congress leaders) are ready to participate, we will welcome them. If they are not, then the political pauperism of the Congress party will be evident to the people of the state," Balakrishnan said.
The KPCC was already irked with the stands taken by Tharoor over various matters as recently, he refused to join a signature protest against K-Rail but later changed his mind after facing backlash from the party.
The Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) has been staging widespread protests over the proposed ambitious semi-highspeed SilverLine rail project, also known as K-Rail, of the Left government.
The government had on January 15 published the Detailed Project Report (DPR) of the project with an estimated cost of the project as Rs 63,941 crores.
The DPR says the project is expected to complete by 2025 and will reduce journey time from Thiruvananthapuram to Kasaragod from 12 hours to just 4 hours.
The 529.45 km long project is executed by Kerala Rail Development Corporation Limited (K-Rail), a joint venture of Government of Kerala and Ministry of Railways, for implementing the railway infrastructure in the state. The Centre is yet to approve the project.
Congress is opposed to the project over its viability, claiming it will overshoot its estimated cost while the main opposition party as well as the BJP also insist it is unscientific and impractical.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Mar 21 2022 | 6:24 PM IST

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