Thiruvananthapuram: The Congress in Kerala on Monday warned Shashi Tharoor against praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi but the former Union Minister set the record straight holding that he is a "proud Congressman" and had not even remotely endorsed the "Hindutva agenda" of the BJP.
Signalling that disciplinary action would be contemplated against Tharoor if he kept on lauding Modi's initiatives, KPCC Vice President M M Hassan said, "As a first step, we are asking him to stop praising Modi as his stance went totally against the Congress' ideals."
Expressing strong displeasure, KPCC President V M Sudheeran said Tharoor should not be oblivious of the fact that he had been elected on a Congress ticket.
"Tharoor should not forget the fact that it is the Congress that made him a Member of Parliament. He should refrain from speaking against the party line," Sudheeran said at Vatakara in Kozhikode district.
Read: Not pro-BJP but pro-India: Shashi Tharoor justifies supporting ‘Swachh Bharat campaign’
Sudheeran also indicated that, if necessary, disciplinary action would be initiated against Tharoor after consulting other leaders if he kept on eulogising Modi.
Defending himself, Tharoor said his response to Modi's call to support the "Swachh Bharat" campaign would not mean that he even remotely endorsed the BJP's "core Hindutva" agenda and that he continued to be a "proud Congressman".
"I am astonished that anyone would suggest that I am pro-BJP. I have a 30-year paper trail of published writings on my idea of India and my profound belief in India's pluralism," Tharoor, a minister in the previous UPA government and the second term MP from Thiruvananthapuram, said in a Facebook comment.
"Being receptive to specific statements or actions of BJP leaders does not remotely imply acceptance of the party's core Hindutva agenda. The PM pitched his appeal as a non-political one and I received it in that spirit. I am a proud Congressman and a proud Indian. In short, not pro-BJP, just pro-India," the former UN diplomat, said.
Tharoor has responded positively to Modi's invitation to join the ambitious Swachh Bharat campaign but wanted it to be a sustained programme instead of being "tokenism".