THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Congress' Kerala unit chief K.Sudhakaran on Monday changed his stance and batted for Mallikarjun Kharge, the "official" candidate for the party's presidential poll.
All the prominent leaders, including A.K.Antony, Oommen Chandy, Ramesh Chennithala and Leader of Opposition V.D.Satheesan and several others, have chosen Kharge over their local party colleague Shashi Tharoor.
Till the official statement was announced on Monday, Sudhakaran held to "let the voters cast their vote according to their rationale".
With this, it's more or less certain that from the around 300 voters from Kerala, Tharoor is unlikely to get more than two dozen votes. He had sprung a surprise when he managed to get 16 Kerala Congress leaders to sign his nomination papers.
In his statement issued here, Sudhakaran praised Kharge for contribution to the party in the past six decades and described him as the "right" candidate to head the party and rejuvenate it.
Incidentally, Sudhakaran's statement after he won his first Lok Sabha polls from Kannur in 2009, the same year when Tharoor also won his debut election, is of significance.
Asked how were things inside the , Lok Sabha as he had quit as a legislator and won the Lok Sabha polls, he had said, "The fact of the matter is when people like me stand up in the Lok Sabha, none takes note of it, but the moment Tharoor stands up to speak, there is pin drop silence and all in the house eagerly turns their attention to him to hear what he speaks," .
Sudhakaran has always had a soft corner for Tharoor unlike several others, as he is of a different league altogether and has won a hat trick of wins from Thiruvananthapuram, even when he has failed to get the full support of the party leaders here.
A media critic on condition of anonymity said it's the least surprising that Sudhakaran has come out with a statement supporting Kharge as that's the order of the day and he has to do that.
"Whether Tharoor will win or not is secondary as more important is how many votes will he get and if he loses by a mile then it might be difficult for him to get the respect that he had in the party and if he manages to put up a close fight, then his stock will further increase," said the critic.