Thiruvananthapuram: The Congress in Kerala today warned Shashi Tharoor against praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi but the former Union Minister set the record straight holding that he is a "proud Congressman" and had not even remotely endorsed the "Hindutva agenda" of the BJP.
Signalling that disciplinary action would be contemplated against Tharoor if he kept on lauding Modi's initiatives, KPCC
Vice President M M Hassan said, "As a first step, we are asking him to stop praising Modi as his stance went totally
against the Congress' ideals."
Expressing strong displeasure, KPCC President V M Sudheeran said Tharoor should not be oblivious of the fact that he had been elected on a Congress ticket.
"Tharoor should not forget the fact that it is the Congress that made him a Member of Parliament. He should refrain from speaking against the party line," Sudheeran said at Vatakara in Kozhikode district.
Sudheeran also indicated that, if necessary, disciplinary action would be initiated against Tharoor after consulting other leaders if he kept on eulogising Modi.
Defending himself, Tharoor said his response to Modi's call to support the "Swachh Bharat" campaign would not mean that he even remotely endorsed the BJP's "core Hindutva" agenda and that he continued to be a "proud Congressman".
"I am astonished that anyone would suggest that I am pro-BJP. I have a 30-year paper trail of published writings on my idea of India and my profound belief in India's pluralism," Tharoor, a minister in the previous UPA government and the second term MP from Thiruvananthapuram, said in a Facebook comment.
"Being receptive to specific statements or actions of BJP leaders does not remotely imply acceptance of the party's core Hindutva agenda. The PM pitched his appeal as a non-political one and I received it in that spirit. I am a proud Congressman and a proud Indian. In short, not pro-BJP, just pro-India," the former UN diplomat, said.
Tharoor has responded positively to Modi's invitation to join the ambitious Swachh Bharat campaign but wanted it to be a sustained programme instead of being "tokenism".
Responding to Modi's call, Tharoor had last week said he was honoured to accept the invitation to join the 'Clean India campaign'.
Tharoor, who praised Modi on a couple of occasions earlier, however, added he was not a fan of tokenism and the challenge would be to sustain it beyond a week of 'photo ops'.
Modi has invited nine persons, including Tharoor, to join in the Swachh Bharat campaign on the model of the 'Ice Bucket Challenge'.
Tearing into Tharoor, former state Youth Congress President M Liju said it was surprising that the Congress MP failed to realise the true agenda behind Modi's schemes.
"Tharoor is not a nursery school student. It is difficult to believe that he fails to understand the true agenda and
political gimmickry of Modi's programmes," Liju added.