New Delhi: A controversy erupted yesterday over Congress leader Shashi Tharoor comparing JNU students’ union president Kanhaiya Kumar, facing sedition charges, with Bhagat Singh, drawing strong criticism from BJP, which accused the former Union Minister of insulting the freedom fighter.
Shashi Tharoor. Pic/AFP
Addressing a group of students at the JNU on Sunday night, Tharoor, while listing the names of victims of sedition law under British rule had said, "The biggest victims of sedition law under the British rule were Jawaharlal Nehru, Mahatma Gandhi, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Annie Besant and Bhagat Singh," he said. When a girl mentioned Kanhaiya, prompt came Tharoor’s remark that "Bhagat Singh was the Kanhaiya Kumar of his time."
The BJP took strong exception to Tharoor’s comment saying it was an insult to the "great freedom fighter" as well as all patriots of the country. "Shashi Tharoor should tell if Kanhaiya is Bhagat Singh, then what are Rahul and Sonia Gandhi," BJP’s Shahnawaz Hussain said.
Tharoor on his part clarified that he did not intend to equate Kanhaiya with Bhagat Singh.
"Bhagat Singh was fighting colonial rule and foreign oppression and Kanhaiya is fighting for his beliefs in a very different democracy...So the situations are different but the comparison (was) -young, Marxist, idealist, passionately committed to their motherland, in their 20s...that’s all," he said in a clarification yesterday.