New Delhi: The clamour to promote Shashi Tharoor, the Congress MP from Thiruvananthapuram, higher up in the party ranks is picking up. The Pradesh Congress Committee presidents of Rajasthan and Punjab have sought the removal of the party's leader in the Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and appointment of Shashi Tharoor in his place.
On Monday, when Congress Working Committee members held talks with state party units to choose the party president, Sachin Pilot (Rajasthan) and Sunil Jakhar (Punjab) pointed out that Adhir was not effective as the party's Lok Sabha leader.
At present, Tharoor is the best person in the Lower House who could handle the role, they said. The support from Punjab, which has sent the maximum number of Congress MPs to the Lok Sabha (8) after Kerala, and prominent young leader like Sachin Pilot has given rise to hectic parleys on this count.
The two PCC chiefs also point out how Adhir put the party in a fix over his controversial comments on Kashmir in the Lok Sabha. Adhir, during a debate in the Lower House recently, had claimed that Kashmir was being monitored by the UN since 1948 and it was not an internal matter, embarrassing the party and its leadership.
Jakhar said that Tharoor is better equipped to take on the BJP in the Lok Sabha. After the election results, Tharoor was likely to be chosen the party's leader in the Lok Sabha but Sonia Gandhi, who was appointed as the interim party chief a few days ago, opted for Adhir.
Apparently, what went against Tharoor was the lack of support from the party's Kerala unit. Bengal chief minister was also upset at Adhir, who had beaten a TMC candidate, being made the Lok Sabha leader of Congress.
A Kolkata court on Tuesday issued an arrest warrant against Tharoor over his alleged remark that the BJP, if voted to power again, would rewrite the Constitution and pave the way for creation of a 'Hindu Pakistan'.
While hearing a petition filed by one Sumit Chowdhury claiming that the statement promoted disharmony among people, the chief metropolitan magistrate issued a bailable warrant against the Congress MP.
The matter has been scheduled for hearing again on September 24.