New Delhi: Ahead of the crucial Congress Core Group meeting scheduled for Sunday evening,
Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at his residence on Sunday and is reported to have offered his resignation over the Kochi IPL fiasco.
Informed sources said Tharoor has left it to Dr Singh to take a final call on the matter.
The sources said that Tharoor might step down if the Congress leadership feels that this is the course to follow.
Tharoor reportedly had a forty-five minutes long meeting with Dr Singh, where he put forward his views.
The Congress Core Group is expected to take a final decision on the minister’s continuance in the government.
In his meeting with the PM, Tharoor is understood to have explained his position to the in the wake of allegations that he helped his friend Sunanda Pushkar acquire a sweat equity in the Kochi IPL franchise.
PM Singh will be meeting Congress president Sonia Gandhi later in the day to decide Tharoor’s fate.
Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Defence Minister AK Antony, Home Minister P Chidambaram and political secretary to Congress president Ahmed Patel will also attend the all important meeting.
The party has already distanced itself from Tharoor on the IPL issue, saying it was for him to explain. The minister’s statement in the Lok Sabha on Friday did not appear to have changed the position of the party.
The MoS 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, Tharoor has denied the charge that he intended to get any financial gain for him or his friend.
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 LK Advani and Prakash Karat yesterday joined the chorus for Tharoor’s sacking.
The entire Opposition paralysed the Parliament on Friday demanding Tharoor’s removal and demanded 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.
Mukherjee, who is away in West Bengal, is cutting short his visit and rushing back to Delhi to attend the Core Group meeting.
Tharoor had met Mukherjee several times since the controversy broke out. Antony was also present during those meetings.
Skirting demands for his resignation, Tharoor had on Friday rejected the Opposition’s allegations of any misuse of authority to influence IPL Kochi franchise’s successful bid.
He had asserted that the allegations against him on the IPL issue were "baseless, ill-founded and ill-motivated" and said, "Irrespective of my personal relationships with any of the consortium members, I have not benefitted, and do not intend to benefit, in any way financially from my association with the team now or at a later stage."
(With agency inputs)