Shashi Tharoor’s recent statements praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi has drawn taunts and barbs from Congress leaders from Kerala with a former chief of the party’s state unit suggesting that he join the BJP while another MP has written party president Sonia Gandhi seeking action against him.Tharoor had recently supported party colleague Jairam Ramesh’s statement that ‘demonising the Prime Minister was wrong and he should be praised for the right things he does.’ Tharoor went on to say that there was no harm in supporting good work and one should understand why people were backing Modi. But Tharoor had clarified that it doesn’t mean he was supporting Modi and had even claimed that two cases were pending against him for criticizing the PM. Despite his clarification, Congress leaders in Kerala put Tharoor in their line of fire. Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala and PCC chief Mullapally Ramachandran rejected his contention saying Modi’s actions were unacceptable all the time and there was no need to portray him in good light. Former PCC chief K Muralidharan went a step further saying Tharoor would be better off joining the BJP while Congress MP from Thissur, T N Prathapan wrote a letter to Sonia Gandhi seeking action against Tharoor. “It seems Tharoor is scared of case against him (case relating to the death of his wife Sunanda Pushkar). Instead of seeking largesse from opponents he should fight it out in the court. He is portraying the party in bad light and it is better for him to join the BJP,” said Muralidharan, party MP from Vatakara.“His repeated utterances are sending wrong signals to party workers,” Prathapan said.Many other leaders including Chalakudy MP Benny Behnan also criticised Tharoor.“Some people are praising Modi for making toilets. But these same leaders often criticise him saying there is no water in toilets. Party members are bound to follow party line and policy. Those who cannot digest this can leave the party,” he said in Kozhikkode. But an unfazed Tharoor said he will stick to his stated position. “I have been the people’s representative for last 10 years. I don’t need any certificate from any one. Jairam Ramesh headed the party’s manifesto committee. Does he need to be taught lessons?” he asked. He said the case against him is at a trial stage and it will be “highly improper” to link everything with the case. He said he did not take state leaders protest seriously and it that it had happened earlier also. Tharoor defended his track record saying “You take Parliament records, I am one of the front runners in criticizing the government. His (Modi’s) party foisted two cases against me. I don’t want any certificates from anyone. But you should not be blind at the same time,” he said. He is facing two cases for his remarks “scorpion on a Shivling” and that India was becoming a Hindu Pakistan, referring to Modi’s rule in both comments. He has obtained bail in both cases. First Published:
Aug 26, 2019 18:18 IST