New Delhi: Congressman Mani Shankar Aiyar has advised Congressman Shashi Tharoor to "not use sycophant phrases like the ones he used Modi 2, Modi 1, Modi 3," ripping into his colleague for his headline-grabbing praise for India's new Prime Minister.
Mr Aiyar was referring to a blog that Mr Tharoor wrote in the Huffington Post titled "How Narendra Modi May Have Evolved into 'Modi 2.0," where he argued that "it would be churlish not to acknowledge Modi 2.0's inclusive outreach and to welcome his more conciliatory statements and actions."
Mr Aiyar has accused Mr Tharoor of immaturity. "I am neither angry nor offended. (I am) deeply disappointed that an intelligent man like Tharoor should come to such judgements. It demonstrates immaturity that according to Tharoor, we should stop being churlish," Mr Aiyar told NDTV. (Watch video here)
Mr Tharoor, a former minister, told NDTV yesterday that he should not be called a "Modi fan" for his praise, but said again that, "it would be churlish not to acknowledge...when he says that he would be PM for everyone, including those who have not voted for him, that he would like to serve all Indians." (Watch: Churlish Not to Acknowledge Narendra Modi: Shashi Tharoor to NDTV)
"We will certainly robustly oppose him," Mr Tharoor said, but also added, "The duty of an opposition seems to me to stand up for national interest, not to oppose for the sake of opposing everything the government says or does."
Mr Aiyar's riposte: "Who is opposing for the sake of opposing, you don't rush into fulsome praise... This kind of chameleon politics is undesirable." And also, "My job is to keep red alert on a man whose past record does not inspire confidence."
Congress general secretary, Digvijaya Singh, like Mr Aiyar known to bait Mr Modi, had gentler advice. "Modi Avtar 2? Let's not jump to conclusions but wait and watch (sic)," he tweeted.
While Mr Tharoor said his party understood what he was trying to say - pointing to the fact that he "had not been fired yet and was still the spokesman" - the Congress made clear that these were his personal views. (Read more)
"As a party, it is too early to comment on the functioning of the government," the Congress' Shobha Oza said.