Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor ran into trouble for the second time in a week on Wednesday, this time for a message he posted on the social networking site Twitter, in which he said he would travel “cattle class” in solidarity with all our “holy cows.”
Faced with a flurry of questions on his ‘tweet,’ Congress spokesperson Jayanthi Natarajan said the party strongly disapproved of the expression “cattle class.” Conceding that the term “cattle class” is a commonly used jargon, she said: “But we find it unacceptable because thousands of Indians travel on ordinary class.”
Though Ms. Natarajan refused to be drawn into commenting on whether any kind of disciplinary action was being contemplated against Mr. Tharoor, she did add that he was perhaps not conscious of the sensitivities since he was new to Indian politics.
Asked if he would travel cattle class the next time he visited Kerala, Mr. Tharoor tweeted: “Absolutely, in cattle class out of solidarity with all our holy cows!”
What has stunned the Congress is that Mr. Tharoor could have made such a comment — particularly, the reference to ‘holy cows’ — on a day when Congress president Sonia Gandhi flew economy class to Mumbai.
Last week, Mr. Tharoor found himself in a spot of bother after it came to light that he was staying in a five star hotel in the Capital, as his official residence was under renovation.
Though the Minister said he was footing his hotel bills, the fact that he was living in a five star hotel at a time when the Congress central leadership was preaching austerity drew a lot of flak.