Thiruvananthapuram, Nov 24 (PTI) Congress MP Shashi Tharoor on Thursday hit back at those claiming he was not supporting the UDF agitation against the Thiruvananthapuram Corporation Mayor over her alleged letter asking for a priority list of CPI(M) cadres to be appointed in temporary posts in the civic body, saying they were probably not paying attention to his stand on the issue.
The Thiruvananthapuram MP further said he was the first one to seek the Mayor Arya Rajendran's resignation and that indicates his stand.
His response assumes significance as the Leader of Opposition (LoP) in the Assembly V D Satheesan recently indicated that the Thiruvananthapuram MP did not take part in any of the ongoing agitations by the party workers in the State capital, which was Tharoor's constituency.
Speaking to reporters outside the Corporation, where the Congress-led UDF has been agitating for the last 19 days, Tharoor said maybe those claiming he was not supportive of the protest were probably unaware of or not paying attention to the news reports about him seeking the Mayor's resignation on November 7.
"I was the first to seek her resignation. They may not be paying attention or following the news. My seeking her resignation on November 7 was widely reported. So, the party should understand my stand on it. Also, it was not a baseless comment by me. I took a stand after understanding the issue and giving it considerable thought, like I do on all issues. I was not getting time amidst my duties and obligations to come here, but at the first opportunity I got, I came and declared my support for the protest," he said.
Congress MP K Muraleedharan, former president of the KPCC and son of legendary Congress leader Karunakaran, recently indicated that there are some who desire to be the party's Chief Ministerial candidate in Kerala and they may be feeling threatened by Tharoor's activities in the State.
To this, senior Congress leader and former LoP Ramesh Chennithala today said there was no urgency in deciding who should be the party's candidate for the Chief Minister's post, as there were four years to decide on that.
Earlier in the day, addressing the UDF protestors outside the Corporation office, Tharoor said disgust is what he feels when he sees the conduct of the Mayor and the action of the police against the Congress protestors.
In his speech, Tharoor said, "Disgust is what I feel, is the word that comes to my mind, when I see the conduct of the Mayor and the police." He questioned as to how the Mayor, the State government and the police would protect people's rights if this was their conduct.
Tharoor said Rajendran is holding a Constitutional position and therefore, it should not matter to her which party she belongs to or on which party ticket she won.
"She is everyone's mayor, like I am everyone's MP. But what we see in the letter is that after entering a Constitutional office, she is functioning as a party representative. It is not only an injustice but also a violation of the oath of office taken by her. It is also betrayal, a cheating of the citizens, especially the youth, of Kerala. We cannot allow it, we cannot accept it and it is unforgivable," he said, lashing out at Rajendran who has been denying that she wrote any such letter.
Tharoor criticised the police action on the matter, saying that four student-members of the Kerala Students Union (KSU), the party's student wing, and 14 Youth Congress workers were in jail for the past 18 days for protesting against the Mayor.
Besides that, Mahila Congress leader and MP Jeby Mather had to be hospitalised, allegedly due to police assault, for five days and two Youth Congress leaders were still in hospital, he said.
"So, how is this Corporation Mayor, the State government and the police going to protect our rights?" he asked. PTI HMP NVG NVG