BENGALURU: Congress leader Shashi Tharoor kicked up a storm on Sunday after quoting an RSS source who is believed to have described PM Modi as ‘a scorpion sitting on a Shivling’. This analogy immediately drew a sharp reaction from the BJP whose leaders hit out at Tharoor for his ‘horrific denunciation of Lord Shiva’.
Tharoor made this remark while discussing the alleged strife between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and RSS. He said, “There is an extraordinarily striking metaphor expressed by an unnamed RSS source with journalist Vinod Jose of (The) Caravan, which I quote here, in which they express their frustration with their inability to curb Mr Modi. Mr Modi, he says, is like a scorpion sitting on a Shivling. You can’t remove him with your hand and you cannot hit it with a chappal either.”
He was speaking to a packed audience at the Bangalore Literature Festival, on his book, ‘The Paradoxical Prime Minister: Narendra Modi And His India’. “Moditva, which is Modi plus Hindutva, has been a concern among the RSS ranks, as it has allowed Modi to rise above the organisation. Though Modi is from the RSS, he is not confined to it,” he said.
Tharoor’s remarks drew the ire of the BJP, with Union Minister for Law and Justice Ravi Shankar Prasad demanding an apology from Rahul Gandhi.
“(Sic) Shashi Tharoor who is accused in a murder case has attempted to disrespect Lord Shiva. I seek a reply from Rahul Gandhi who claims himself to be a Bhakt of Lord Shiva on this horrific denunciation of Hindu gods by a Congress MP. Rahul Gandhi must apologize to all Hindus,” he tweeted.
“The Congress claims to represent the heritage of Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi.
Today, under the presidentship of Rahul Gandhi it has been reduced to hurling abuses and the worst form of civil discourse,” he said in New Delhi.
Tharoor, in response to the Union minister, shared an article where the metaphor was first used in 2012, on Twitter. “In view of unseemly demonisation of an out-of-context remark today involving a scorpion metaphor, my book #TheParadoxicalPrimeMinister cites & footnotes this article — please see the last paragraph of this article.”
In another tweet, Tharoor wrote, “(Sic) This comment (not by me) has been in the public domain for six years. RS Prasad making an issue of a 6-yr- old quote shows how little new the BJP has to offer the nation. As for media subserving the BJP desire for “controversy”, when will this “profession” develop any self-respect?”
BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain told a TV channel: “He (Tharoor) has crossed all the levels, his comments are unacceptable, what kind of a language he is using. Another Congress MLA says he (Modi) is a mosquito. Congress leaders are using foul language against the PM.”
Union Minister Giriraj Singh claimed Tharoor was able to make such a statement because this was India and not Pakistan. Tharoor would have been silenced if he said such things in Pakistan, he claimed. “Tharoor has not insulted the PM, he has insulted crores of Hindus and Shiv devotees,” he said. “I will only say this: Congress is now crossing the line.”
Tharoor waded into another controversy when he likened the ongoing crisis at the CBI to a “1920s black and white comedy” with characters running from one end of the screen to another. All institutions in the country, such as the SC, Central Vigilance Commission, RBI and others, have been sidelined, he said.
The current government, he said, was the most centralised and top heavy government in recent memory. “Previously empowered secretaries of various departments have been reduced to subordinates of officials at the PMO. As a result, the Home Minister doesn’t know that the CBI director is changed, the Foreign Minister doesn’t know about change in foreign policy and the Defence Minister wasn’t aware about changes in Rafale deal,” he said.
Claiming that Modi had no foreign policy when it came to Pakistan, Tharoor said the relationship between the two nations has witnessed “ridiculous ups and downs”. Shortly after Modi made an impromptu landing in Lahore to meet Nawaz Sharif, Pathankot Air Force Station was attacked. Shockingly, Inter-Services Intelligence agents were allowed to come and inspect the spot by Modi, who had been critical of UPA government approach to hold talks, he claimed.