Tharoor withdraws from attending seminar at CPI-M national congress

New Delhi, March 21 : Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Monday announced his withdrawal from attending the national congress of Comm st Party of India-Marxist, days after he consented to attend. Tharoor issued a statement, saying that he had agreed to attend a seminar at the CPI-M national Congress, scheduled to be held in Kunnur next month as the topic of the seminar was ‘center-state relations’, where there was no difference between the opinions of the two parties. He stated that the event was a national one, being organised by CPI-M’s central committee and on national level, Congress has “cooperative relations” with CPI-M. The Lok Sabha MP also said the event set a fine example of intellectual exchange on policy issues, adding that he discussed the matter with Congress President Sonia Gandhi. “I respect her views on this matter and have conveyed to the organisers my inability to participate,” he said. Sonia had met Tharoor along with other Kerala MPs, including TN Prathapan, Kodikunnil Suresh and Benny Behanan. Tharoor, KV Thomas and Mani Shankar Aiyar, had been invited to attend a seminar in the CPI-M national Congress, which is being held from April 6 to 10. Tharoor, however, added in his statement, “Broader question of our relations with CPI-M at the national level, the specific topic of center-state relations, and the manner in which invitations from other political parties should be handled, remains to be addressed separately. “A month ago, a similar invitation was extended for a seminar on the sidelines of the CPI-M state party conference. On that occasion also, I consulted the AICC president and a suitable decision was taken without any media controversy,” he said. The Congress leader further said he regretted that “some preferred the unseemly public airing of internal differences, thereby creating needless controversy in a matter on which AICC’s view was binding. I hope wisdom will prevail in future.” AO RJ

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