New Delhi: Shashi Tharoor's fate remained
uncertain on Saturday night amid indications that a final call on his
future in the government is likely to be taken on Sunday by the
Congress high command.
With the return today of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
from his week-long visit to the Americas, the stage is set for
him, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and other members of the
Core Group to take a decision on Tharoor's continuance in the
The Minister of State for External Affairs is embroiled
in a controversy resulting from allocation of sweat equity
valued at Rs 70 crore by the IPL Kochi franchise to his friend
Sunanda Pushkar. However, he has denied the charge that he
intended to get any financial gain for him or his friend.
A senior Congress leader said nothing has been decided
and "all options are open". The party has already distanced
itself from Tharoor on the IPL issue saying it was for him to
The minister's statement in Lok Sabha yesterday
appears not to have changed the position of the party.
The opposition is gunning for the removal of 54-year
old first time MP from Thiruvananthapuram on the ground that
he misused his office to get pecuniary gains for his friend.
Senior leaders L K Advani and Prakash Karat today
joined the chorus for Tharoor's sacking.
Advani said the Prime Minister must drop Tharoor from
the Council of Ministers because of "gross impropriety"
unbecoming of the office he is occupying.
"It also needs to be probed whether he (Tharoor) is
also guilty of abusing his office to secure pecuniary
advantage for himself or for some other person," he said.
The CPI(M) general secretary said, "I am sure the
Congress party and the government will recognise that what has
happened is totally unwarranted and uncalled for and it would
be better if Tharoor steps down without further delay."
The entire opposition paralysed Parliament yesterday
demanding his removal and wanted a statement from the Prime
Minister on the issue and not a clarification from Tharoor.
The opposition has given enough hints that it would be
unrelenting on the demand for Tharoor's removal.
First Published: Saturday, April 17, 2010, 23:50