KOCHI: Senior Congress leader and MP, K V Thomas has put his party in an embarrassing position by lavishing praise on Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The praise that came at a time when his reinvigorated party president Rahul Gandhi is taking on the saffron party leader has raised eye brows in the Congress circles.
The former Union Minister, who represents the Ernakulam Lok Sabha constituency in Kerala, heaped praise on Modi while speaking at the 60th anniversary celebrations of the Kerala Management Association on April 13.
He was impressed with Modi’s administrative capability that Rahul Gandhi questioned increasingly in the past few months. The reports quoted Thomas as saying: “Modi is an able administrator who has the capability to convince others about the decisions and action he is taking.”
Thomas, who had heard the explanation of the Prime Minister on the demonetization and GST in his capacity as chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), said what he found amazing about Modi was his uncanny knack to successfully convince the people the decisions he takes.
“I am not saying whether they are right or wrong, but Modi could explain his decisions convincingly. Administration is a scientific skill in which Modi has expertise," Thomas said adding that he had managed the post-demonetization phase without any disturbance.
“Modi said things would all be fine by December 31, 2017. He was right. There was no riot in the country as many feared,” he added.
However, the party leadership in the state is not convinced. Senior Congress leaders have viewed his remarks contrary to the party’s stand on the demonetization and GST. Former prime minister Manmohan Singh, who had articulated the party stand on demonetization, had described it as an organized loot and legalized plunder.
But what has embarrassed the party the most was Thomas’ statement that he was more comfortable to communicate with the prime minister than his own party leaders. Senior party leaders have termed this as an indirect criticism of the leaders.
The Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) has sought an explanation from MP. Party chief M.M. Hassan's letter to Thomas, circulated to the media on April 14, said that the party wanted to know whether he (Thomas) had made the remarks and if so to explain how he could do so.
“Modi is one who is going forward with anti-people policies and programmes and also supports atrocities and violence,” the letter pointed out.
Thomas has tried to defend himself saying that he was misquoted. He said that his attempt while speaking to the management students was to put across Modi’s ability to manage things by telling lies. He said that Modi had managed to hold his ground despite making lot of mistakes because of this ability.
Thomas claimed that he had not praised the prime minister as reported in a section of the media. The media may have misunderstood the speech made in English, he said.
Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala told reporters that he spoke to Thomas about his comments and the latter explained that he never praised Modi.
Thomas is the second Congress leader from Kerala to land in trouble by praising Modi. The party had reprimanded Thiruvananthapuram M P Sashi Tharoor for admiring the prime minister at least on two occasions.
Tharoor’s praise had led to speculations that he was drawing close to the Bharatiya Janata Party. His name had figured in the list of about half a dozen leaders whom the state BJP had wooed from the state. However, All the leaders, including Tharoor had denied it.