- Shashi Tharoor took a dig at PM over wearing "outlandish headgear"
- But he doesn't wear green or a Muslim skullcap, said Mr Tharoor said
- Union Ministers attack him for "insulting" people of North East
Shashi Tharoor's comment on Prime Minister Narendra Modi wearing "all sorts of outlandish headgear" but never a skull-cap are "insulting" to the northeast, the ruling BJP said today, with two of its ministers, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore and Kiren Rijiju, hitting out at the Congress leader.
The sparring between Mr Tharoor and the BJP started over the former union minister's remarks at a seminar in Kerala.
"Why does our PM, who wears all sorts of outlandish headgear whenever he goes around country, around the world... why does he always refuse to wear a Muslim skullcap? You see him in hilarious Naga head-dress with feathers, various kinds of extraordinary outfits, which is right thing for PM to do...Indira Gandhi has also been photographed wearing various kinds of costumes,"Mr Tharoor said, speaking on the theme "Standing up to hatred; Violence and intolerance".
Mr Tharoor also questioned, "Why does he refuse to wear green?"
The BJP seized on the comments, especially the part where Mr Tharoor described the "hilarious" Naga headgear.
Kiren Rijiju, Union Minister of State for Home, demanded an apology from the Congress and said: "He has used the words 'hilarious' and 'outlandish' for the headgear. Is this is the way to describe someone's culture and tradition and making fun of it?"
Information and Broadcasting Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore tweeted that arrogance towards people had become a Congress hallmark.
Shashi Tharoor insults the proud cultural heritage of the people of North-East.— Rajyavardhan Rathore (@Ra_THORe) August 6, 2018
This condescension & arrogance towards the people of India have become hallmarks of @INCIndia. pic.twitter.com/vul4SOtpVN
Replying to Mr Rathore, Mr Tharoor tweeted back:
"Dear Rajyavardhan, you know better: I was obviously referring to the ceremonial headdress offered to visiting dignitaries, not daily wear. But you're sidestepping the point: when PM wears all types of headgear...why does he avoid just one?"
BJP general secretary Ram Madhav also wrote on Twitter: "For Shashi Tharoor, Naga headgear is outlandish and hilarious. In his overzealous love for skull cap, Tharoor doesn't mind insulting the customs of the Nagas and other NE people."
Later, to media questions, Mr Tharoor said there was "no reason for any outrage over my comment as it was just an observation".
Days ago, Mr Tharoor was skewered by the BJP for saying: "If they (BJP) win a repeat in the Lok Sabha, our democratic Constitution as we understand it, will not survive, as they will have all the elements they need to tear apart the Constitution of India and write a new one. That new one will be the one which will enshrine principles of Hindu Rashtra that will remove equality for minorities, that'll create a Hindu Pakistan."