After giving a nightmare to the national leadership of the Congress when he threw his hat to contest the party President's poll, Thiruvananthapuram Lok Sabha member Shashi Tharoor now appears to be giving sleepless nights to a section of the leaders in the state party unit.
Though he lost the presidential poll by a mile, his stock among the politically conscious Keralaites reached dizzy heights and it's now clear that a section of Congress leaders in the state also has put their money on him.
This was evident, after the Youth Congress in Kozhikode reportedly backed off from a seminar after inviting him. Following the incident, party's Lok Sabha member from Kozhikode M.K Raghavan has demanded a probe into it.
The Congress party in Kerala has always been divided between factions and it all began with K.Karunakaran vs A.K.Antony and then came Oommen Chandy Vs Ramesh Chennithala and the present factions are mainly dominated by state party president K.Sudhakaran and Leader of Opposition V.D.Satheesan.
But unlike the previous factions, the present one lacks the punch and Tharoor has entered the fray to try his luck and it met with instant success when K.Muraleedharan, his Lok Sabha colleague and son of Karunakaran, who on Monday said there is no need to conduct a probe on what happened at Kozhikode.
"Everyone knows what happened and hence there is no need for any probe. It's only things that are not known, that a probe is needed for. Since I need to maintain party discipline, I will not speak out in the public domain," said Muraleedharan. Tharoor's visit to North Kerala will only benefit the party and all the hustle and bustle one hears now is nothing but angling for the post of chief minister.
A media critic on condition of anonymity said compared to giants like Karunakaran, Antony or Chandy in the present scheme of things in the party, none has that sort of exalted status. "And it's here, Tharoor scores over others like Sudhakaran, Chennithala or Satheesan.
Those opposed to Tharoor know that if any breathing space is provided to Tharoor, they might all have to play second fiddle to him. To avoid such a thing, the leaders have all ganged up against Tharoor," said the critic. This is the reason why the Congress just cannot unitedly take on the faltering Pinarayi Vijayan government, he added.
Now all eyes are on Tharoor's visit to the top leaders in the Indian Union Muslim League- the second biggest ally of the Congress, as part of his north Kerala trip.Playing down the visit, veteran IUML legislator P.K.Kunhalikutty said its a common practice for top leaders of political parties to call on IUML supremo.
Only time will reveal the impact of Tharoor's visit and it could be nerve-racking for those already stricken by Tharoor phobia.