After the rebuke from his party, Shashi Tharoor on Thursday came under attack from BJP leader and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan, who said he has no right to continue in the Union Council of Ministers after his "insulting" remarks about economy class travellers.
"I believe that in a democracy, people are God. To refer to them as 'cattle' is an insult to them. And I believe that such a person has no no right to be a Union minister," he told reporters in Bhopal.
Chauhan said Tharoor perhaps did not know India very well. "And if he says that to sit in economy class is like being cattle, then Shashi Tharoorji, those people who travel economy class are very big people," he said.
Tharoor, a former UN diplomat and a newcomer to politics, received a sharp rebuke from his own party Congress which said his remarks "cattle class" in the context of economy class travel forced by government's austerity measures were "unacceptable and insensitive".
The first time MP, who also immediately became a minister, attracted criticism after he replied to a query on his page in 'Twitter' whether he would travel in cattle class to Kerala next time on economy class by saying "absolutely, in cattle class out of solidarity with all our holy cows". The query was sent by pro-BJP journalist Kanchan Gupta.
The Congress party's strong reaction came against the backdrop of party President Sonia Gandhi herself flying economy class in commercial flights and Rahul Gandhi travelling Chair Car in Shatabdi Express as part of austerity campaign because of the current drought and other economic difficulties.
Tharoor had earlier come under the party's scanner in the wake of a newspaper expose that brought to light his stay in a five-star hotel, which he had to vacate on party directions.