10:49 am - Thursday September 24, 2020

Congress cracks whip on Shashi Tharoor, removes him as AICC spokesperson

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Treatment meted out to diplomat unacceptable: Shashi Tharoor
Treatment meted out to diplomat unacceptable: Shashi Tharoor

Taking a dim view of Shashi Tharoor’s praise of Narendra Modi and his appreciation of the “Swachh Bharat” campaign, the Congress cracked the whip on Tharoor on Monday, removing him as All India Congress Committee (AICC) spokesperson.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi has accepted the recommendation of the AICC disciplinary committee to removeShashi Tharoor from the list of spokespersons of the AICC with immediate effect.

“The Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee had submitted a complaint in this regard to the disciplinary committee,” said party general secretary organisation Janardan Dwivedi in a press release. The report held that Tharoor’s adulatory statements about Modi had hurt Congress workers in Kerala, who had worked sincerely and tirelessly for his victory from Thiruvananthapuram Lok Sabha seat.

Embarrassed by Tharoor’s frequent extolling of prime minister Narendra Modi and his programmes, Congress on October 6, had asked him to stop immediately eulogising Modi and tread the party line.

However, after the warning by the Congress in Kerala that he stop praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi, party MP Shashi Tharoor had also appeared to do some damage control, slamming the BJP government over ceasefire violations by Pakistan.

Earlier, dismissing speculation that he was trying to get close to the BJP as “ridiculous”, Tharoor had said those demanding that he be punished for allegedly praising Narendra Modi have neither understood his remarks, nor bothered to talk to him. He had also clarified that he only supports some of the programmes of Modi and not his ideology. He claimed that he is an ardent supporter of pluralistic concept of the country and those who have read his articles can vouch for it.

In June, Congress had distanced itself from Tharoor’s praise of Modi that had appeared on a US news website in which he had, among other things, also remarked that Modi was looking to turn himself from a “hate figure into an avatar of modernity and progress”. While the party had then described the remarks as Tharoor’s “personal views” emphasising that it was too early to comment on the functioning of the government, Tharoor had later said he was “intrigued” by the fact that the paraphrases of his piece seen in the Indian media looks like people don’t actually read every word and every nuance.

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