New Delhi/Thiruvananthapuram: Congress leader Shashi Tharoor today said he is being targeted by people within his party because he is an outsider and decried criticism of his response to Narendra Modi's call to support the clean India campaign.
“Nobody understands when somebody is trying to express a complex set of ideas,” he said and underlined he has been seen by some as a “foreign object in the body politic”. “And perhaps there is a difficulty in digesting who I am and how I conduct myself,” he told a news channel when asked about the controversy.
Tharoor, who drew flak from Congress's Kerala unit by responding positively to Modi's invitation to him for the “Swachh Bharat”clean India campaign, said, “the fact is that we don't do nuance in our politics”.
Top Congress leaders in Kerala will meet in Thiruvananthapuram tomorrow to discuss the issue and take necessary action, state Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala said. Tharoor said that he is different from those who have devoted their entire life to politics, served the nation, served the party.
“I have indeed had a different career. I have come into politics late in my life and as a professional and perhaps there are some incompatibilities that have manifested these reactions,” he said.
Tharoor has maintained that 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”. “It is completely ridiculous. I reject it completely,” Tharoor said when asked about talks in some sections within his party and outside that Tharoor was trying to get close to the BJP.
Imparting further momentum to the concerted attack on the former Union minister and second-term MP, the Congress's official daily in Kerala “Veekshnam”, carried a stinging editorial, raising questions about his loyalty to the organisation.
Continuing to defend himself with fresh comments through social medium, Tharoor said, “It is painful to hear suggestions that I would relinquish the ideals of Congress and join the BJP for power or personal gain. I have always appreciated good words or deeds in others even if they are in the opposite camp - and I have, with equal strength, criticised them when they are in the wrong,” he said.
Tharoor also tweeted saying Mahatma Gandhi stood not only for physical cleanliness but for cleanliness of mind, heart, soul and spirit.
“I therefore urge @PMOIndia to also work for an India cleansed of bigotry, hatred, intolerance and divisiveness, an India that is truly clean,” he said.
Tharoor, however, received support from an unexpected quarter with senior BJP leader O Rajagopal stating he was at a loss to know why the Congress leaders were targetting the MP for supporting good initiatives of the Prime Minister.