Edited by Mala Das
New Delhi: New UPA minister Shashi Tharoor tweeted the day’s last word in what is becoming an extended verbal volley with the BJP when he said, “Better to be a Minister of Love than Chief Minister of Hate!” Aimed straight at Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who has been assiduously attempting to shake off the shadow of the Gujarat riots and alter his image as he preps for a larger political role in his party.
Mr Tharoor’s tweet was in retort to BJP spokesman Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi’s suggestion on Wednesday that, “For an international Love Guru like him (Mr Tharoor), a ministry of Love Affairs should be created.” Mr Naqvi’s allusion was to Mr Tharoor’s heroic tweet and statement yesterday when he wore his heart on his sleeve and said, “My wife is priceless, beyond any imaginary 50 crores but you have to be able to love someone to understand that and we’ll have to see if he is capable of understanding that.” Mr Tharoor was then responding to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s sexist and offensive reference to his wife, Sunanda Tharoor, as a “50-crore-girlfriend” at an election rally in Himachal Pradesh.
Through the day, Mr Modi’s public appearances were watched eagerly to see what rejoinder he would come up with. He did not speak on the matter, Mr Naqvi did. Mr Tharoor’s colleague, Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari admonished Mr Naqvi. “Let us not vitiate the public discourse to this level,” he said.
On Monday, Mr Modi said at his rally, “Wah kya girlfriend hai. Apne kabhi dekha hai 50 crore ka girlfriend? (What a girlfriend? Have you ever seen a 50-crore girlfriend).” And qualified that astonishing statement by saying, “There was a Congress leader who was a minister. He was accused of amassing wealth from cricket. He had said in Parliament that he is not connected to the Rs.50 crore in the lady’s name…And then girlfriend becomes wife, we learn some time later…the issues are still not settled and he is now made a minister.”
Mr Tharoor was forced to resign in 2010 as a minister after allegations of a conflict of interest in promoting an IPL team for Kochi which was linked to Sunanda, whom he married months after quitting office. After being sworn in on Sunday, Mr Tharoor had said, “The controversies were created more by the media, the whole IPL issue has been behind me for several years now.”
Mr Modi’s comment has earned him universal opprobrium. People ripped him apart on Twitter, the social media platform that he too uses extensively.
He was also soundly criticised by Sunanda Tharoor herself, who, unlike her husband, did not restrict herself to 140 characters. She said in an interview to NDTV, said, “How can he stoop to something like that? It is the land of Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel…and then you’ve got this guy…I was just shocked.” She also defended the public displays of affection with her husband that are often caught on camera. “I grew up in a family where my father and mother would kiss and hug me at the drop of a hat. Shashi is an affectionate person. Only Shashi is targeted…probably because we’re still in love,” she said. “I don’t want to name names but I am glad to see all our young ministers are very affectionate towards their wives.” (Read)
Courtesy : http://www.ndtv.com