Under severe push from Congress chief Sonia Gandhi [ Images ] and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee [ Images ] combine, the Congress core committee decided to show Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor [ Images ] the door on Sunday evening.
Sources say that the overwhelming view in the Core group meeting attended by senior cabinet ministers held earlier on Sunday evening was that Tharoor had become a liability for the party and the government, and that it was not fit for the government to defend the minister who had not been
able to offer an explanation of his alleged role surrounding the Kochi Indian Premier League [ Images ] franchise.
Sources say that the main discussion in the meeting was what should be the modalities of Tharoor's resignation since the Parliament is in session; and whether the resignation can be announced outside, or whether it should be announced in the Parliament.
On Sunday afternoon, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [ Images ] had a 50 minutes-long meeting with the core committee, where it was evident that it was the end of the road for Tharoor. The party was waiting for his PM's return from abroad, since Singh had announced that he would take a call after looking at the entire situation.
Before the core committee meeting, PM and Sonia Gandhi had a one-on-one meeting where sources said the PM briefed her on his deliberations with Tharoor earlier in the day.
Despite the attempts of some PMO officials to send across the impression that Tharoor had offered his resignation to the PM and that it may not be accepted, Tharoor himself made it clear that he had not offered his resignation.
It is learnt that the principal secretary to the prime minister, Kutty Nair, who is said to be one of the players backing Tharoor in the PMO, met political secretary to the Congress president, Ahmed Patel, to lobby for the continuation of the minister. But sources said that Sonia Gandhi had already made up her mind.
In addition, the PMO is reported to have tried to get a reprieve for Tharoor by getting his friend Sunanda Pushkar [ Images ] to give up her Kochi IPL sweat equity, but sources said that it was too little and too late, as this dramatic gesture did not impress anyone.
Sources said what really marked the 'dead end' for Tharoor was the fact that the Congress party leaders had completely turned against him, and there was no one who wanted to get up on the floor of the House and defend Tharoor.
It was felt that with the Bharatiya Janata Party [ Images ] demanding that the prime minister should make a statement on Tharoor, it was the opinion of the core committee that the PM should not defend a minister who has come under a cloud of criticism; where he was being targeted of using his position to make financial gains for himself and his close friend Sunanda Pushkar.