The Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee on Tuesday decided to seek an explanation from its party MP Shashi Tharoor for praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi last week, NDTV reported.

Tharoor and Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi had backed party colleague Jairam Ramesh’s comments that demonising Modi all the time would not help the Opposition’s cause. At a book launch on Thursday, Ramesh had said Modi’s governance model was “not a complete negative story”. Tharoor supported him, and claimed that he had argued for six years that the prime minister should be praised whenever he says or does the right thing, thereby adding credibility to the Opposition’s criticisms whenever he errs. “I welcome others in Opposition coming around to a view for which I was excoriated at the time,” the Thiruvananthapuram MP had said.

KPCC President Mullappally Ramachandran said they will not accept Tharoor’s comments. “We have decided to seek explanation from Shashi Tharoor and the course of action will be taken based on his explanation,” Ramachandran was quoted as saying by NDTV. The party chief in Kerala also added that no one should praise Modi at the expense of Congress.

Congress MP from Kerala K Muraleedharan also criticised Tharoor for his remarks. “The party is really upset with him in Kerala,” he said. “The BJP is anti-minority. Tharoor has won the elections repeatedly only because of support of people from all sections.” He also reportedly said that Tharoor would be better off joining the Bharatiya Janata Party.

BJP Kerala State President Sreedharan Pillai said the opposition party is “disintegrating day by day due to infighting” after the Congress move. “And some statements should be seen as positive signs for the BJP,” Pillai said. “During the last election, anti-BJP wave was created by some by instilling fear in minorities. Now, all that is coming clean. People too must revisit their stand.”

Tharoor is not in the country currently and in a tweet on August 24 clarified that his comments were necessary to win voters who supported the BJP in Lok Sabha elections.

The Congress leaders’ comments stood out as the party’s election campaign was centred around Modi’s style of leadership and former Congress President Rahul Gandhi had targeted him with slogans such as “chowkidar chor hain” over the Rafale fighter aircraft deal.

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