Congress MP Shashi Tharoor’s sacking as party spokesperson for praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been derided by the BJP as an unusual show of intolerance.
“If this goes on, soon only Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi will be left in the Congress,” BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi remarked.
The Congress dropped Mr. Tharoor as a spokesperson on Monday after complaints that he had humiliated the party with his “constant and unnecessary adulation” of Narendra Modi, who took charge as Prime Minister in May after a massive victory for his BJP.
The two-time MP from Thiruvananthapuram upset his party by saying he was “honoured” to be among nine prominent Indians tagged by the Prime Minister when he launched his five-year Clean India campaign on Mahatma Gandhi’s October 2 birth anniversary.
In a column on ndtv.com, Mr Tharoor wrote, “Which Indian worthy of the name would not be humbled to be tapped by his PM for a national cause?”
The former union minister also commented that Mr Modi “had been effective in using his Prime Ministerial position” to drive change from the top.
The compliments did not go down well with the Congress.
“A spokesperson has to give his party’s views, not his own,” said senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, defending the decision endorsed by party chief Sonia Gandhi.
The BJP’s Siddharth Nath Singh shot back, “If somebody is working for a good cause, what is wrong with praise?’Clean India’ was started by Mahatma Gandhi but the Congress is ‘cleaning’ those who praise PM Modi.”