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Cong slams Tharoor: His ‘cattle class’ remark insensitive,unacceptable

Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor received severe flak from his party,which strongly disapproved of his description of the airline Economy Class as 'cattle class'.

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi |
September 17, 2009 12:00:37 pm

Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor on Wednesday received severe flak from his party,which called him “absolutely insensitive”,and strongly disapproved of his description of the airline Economy Class as “cattle class”.

Responding to a query on the micro-blogging site Twitter on whether he would fly “cattle class” the next time he travels to Kerala,Tharoor said on Tuesday,“Absolutely,in cattle class out of solidarity with all our holy cows!”

As per guidelines issued by the Finance Ministry,ministers are required to travel Economy Class within the country.

On Wednesday,his remark,apparently undermining his party’s and the government’s austerity measures,drew a sharp reaction from the Congress.

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“The party strongly disapproves of this expression (cattle class). It may be slang or a jargon but we find it unacceptable. Since thousands of Indians travel by economy class…We don’t approve of this articulation,” AICC spokesperson Jayanthi Natarajan said at a press briefing at the party headquarters here.

Asked if the minister should step down for making such a remark,Natarajan said,“That is the prerogative of the Prime Minister. I am confining myself to his remarks. Party does not endorse or approve of it. It is absolutely insensitive.”

Asked if the party would initiate disciplinary action against Tharoor,she said,“That is for the high command to decide. It is unacceptable to (every) single one of us,and not just (to) the citizens travelling by Economy Class or even buses.”

Congress sources said the decision to publicly disapprove of Tharoor’s remark was intended to send a “message” to all “new entrants” that they should “learn the language and culture of this historic party”. They said the tweet sounded especially jarring coming at a time when Congress president Sonia Gandhi and AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi were leading the austerity drive by example,travelling Economy in aircraft and Chair Car by train.

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