Days after Congress MP Shashi Tharoor said he felt “honoured” to accept Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s invitation to join the Swachh Bharat Mission, state party leaders on Monday threatened disciplinary action against him.
“The sentiment of the Congress workers is against Tharoor. It was the hard work of hundreds of Congress workers that ensured his victory in the Lok Sabha elections. He should have been aware of that. He should not have fallen into the trap laid by Modi,’’ said Kerala Congress president V M Sudheeran.
Cutting across factions, party leaders said Tharoor’s stand was deplorable and went against the basic tenets of the Congress. While state party vice-president V D Satheeshan said those who have communal agenda should be ousted from the party, several others sought disciplinary action against Tharoor.
Criticising Tharoor’s stand, Kerala Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala said party workers had strong reservations in this regard. Sudheeran said they had received a complaint against the MP and the issue would be discussed with senior leaders including Chief Minister Oommen Chandy.
Addressing a press conference, state party vice-president M M Hassan, a close aide of Chandy, said Tharoor should stop “praising” Modi and warned him of disciplinary action.
Party general secretary M Liju, a Chennithala loyalist, said Tharoor had failed to understand Modi’s communal agenda. The people have not elected him for patting Modi, he said.
Tharoor posted his defence on his Facebook page. “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. 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,’’ he said.
As criticism against him mounted, Tharoor later tweeted, “Deeply concerned by reports of 5 killed and 50 injured in Pakistani shelling today. Over 100 ceasefire violations on LoC since BJP came into power.”
On Thursday, Tharoor, one of the nine eminent persons invited by Modi to join the Swachh Bharat Mission, had tweeted, “Honoured to accept the invitation of PM @narendramodi to join Clean India campaign. Just landed in Bucharest & heard the news. Action on return.”
In a series of tweets, where he tagged Modi and other BJP leaders, Tharoor said he would take action on it after returning to India.