7:26 pm - Monday November 9, 2015

Shashi Tharoor Writes to Congress Explaining Praise for PM Narendra Modi

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Shashi Tharoor awarded for working towards animal protection
Shashi Tharoor awarded for working towards animal protection

New Delhi – Former Union Minister Shashi Tharoor has written to Congress’ communication department chairman Ajay Maken, explaining the rationale behind his praise for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a day after his party distanced itself from his remarks.

“By praising him (Modi) for specific things, we help frame public expectation of his continued behaviour and raise the bar against which we will judge him in future,” Mr Tharoor argued in his letter, while reaffirming his commitment to the organization, and the principles of secularism.

In a blog written for the Huffington Post, titled “How Narendra Modi May Have Evolved into ‘Modi 2.0″, Mr Tharoor argued that “it would be churlish not to acknowledge Modi 2.0’s inclusive outreach and to welcome his more conciliatory statements and actions.” Elected to the Lok Sabha for the second term from Thiruvananthapuram, Mr Tharoor is one of the 44 Congress leaders to have survived the BJP onslaught in the general election.

The former minister told IV yesterday that he should not be called a “Modi fan” for his praise, but said again that, “it would be churlish not to acknowledge…when he says that he would be PM for everyone, including those who have not voted for him, that he would like to serve all Indians.”

Mr Tharoor’s comments drew a sharp retort from party leaders such as Mani Shankar Aiyar, who cautioned against using “sycophant phrases like the ones he used Modi 2, Modi 1, Modi 3,” as he ripped into his colleague for eulogizing the new PM.

“I am neither angry nor offended. (I am) deeply disappointed that an intelligent man like Tharoor should come to such judgements. It demonstrates immaturity that according to Tharoor, we should stop being churlish,” Mr Aiyar told IV.

The Congress, put on the defensive by the unexpected praise for Mr Modi from one of its senior leaders, dismissed Mr Tharoor’s comments as his “personal” views.

“As a party, it is too early to comment on the functioning of the government,” Congress’ Shobha Oza said.

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