NEW DELHI (TIP): Congress MP and spokesman Shashi Tharoor says he should not be called a “Modi fan” after his recent praise for India’s new Prime Minister, but also that it would be churlish not to acknowledge the latter’s efforts to reach out to all.
The former minister’s article in the Huffington Post, titled How Narendra Modi May Have Evolved into ‘Modi 2.0’ has made headlines. Though the Congress has distanced itself from Tharoor’s comments. In an interview to a TV channel Tharoor said, “We have been extremely concerned about what Mr Modi represents and his aspirations and ambitions on coming to Delhi.
What has been a pleasant surprise for the likes of me is the way in which he has actually conducted himself and spoken after his election. From the moment of his victory, he has been amazingly gracious and accommodating particularly in the language he has said and the tone he has used, I think it would be churlish not to acknowledge for example 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.” But the Congressman also added, “We will certainly robustly oppose him.
The duty of an opposition seems to me to stand up for national interest, not to oppose for the sake of opposing everything the government says or does.” He pointed out that he has already voiced concern “about the tendency not of Modi but of some of his supporters to raise sensitive issues – Article 370, the illegal immigrants in Bangladesh, the Common Civil Code – issues that have been raised for reasons that we believe have to serve their sectarian interests and not the interests of India and we have flagged them and we will oppose them strongly.”
When asked if his party was ok with high praise for the PM, Tharoor pointed out that he had not been fired yet and was still the spokesman, adding that his party understood what he was trying to say. But the Congress said the Mr Tharoor’s views are his personal views. “As a party, it is too early to comment on the functioning of the government,” the party’s Shobha Oza said.
Senior Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar slammed Mr Tharoor, calling him “immature.” Aiyar said he was deeply offended and disappointed by Tharoor’s praise for Modi. “Can’t believe an intelligent man like Shashi would say this,” he said.