Congress president Sonia Gandhi is understood to have told Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor to be careful with his words in view of the controversy generated last week by his “cattle class” and “holy cows” remarks on the social networking site Twitter.
This word of caution was communicated to Mr. Tharoor when he met her here on Tuesday. He had apparently sought the appointment on Monday immediately on his return from a tour of Liberia and Ghana.
Though there was no official word on what transpired at the meeting, Mr. Tharoor is understood to have told Ms. Gandhi that he meant no offence with his tweet, which stated he would travel “cattle class in solidarity with all our holy cows” in response to a question about the Congress’ austerity drive.
Besides trying to put his tweet into perspective, Mr. Tharoor said it was blown out of proportion by certain quarters in the party opposed to him.
Lunch with Pranab
Later in the day, he lunched with Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who earlier in the month requested him to vacate a five-star hotel.
Mr. Tharoor also met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, whose description of the “cattle class” controversy as routine bantering put a lid on the issue. This meeting was termed purely official, with Mr. Tharoor briefing the Prime Minister on his Africa visit. And, Mr. Tharoor was back tweeting soon after, announcing to his over two lakh followers that he had just had a “long day catching up with a week’s absence from Delhi; mountains of pending files and two journalists actually interviewed me on Africa!”