The BJP on Thursday took exception to Union Mnister Shashi Tharoor’s alleged scornful comment on travel by economy class and asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to apologise for the remark of his ministerial colleague or sack him (Tharoor).

People would like to know from the Prime Minister his clarification with respect to Mr. Tharoor’s comment that “he will travel cattle class out of solidarity with all our holy cows,” BJP spokesman Rajiv Pratap Rudy said.

Describing as “a cruel joke and insult” to crores of people travelling in general class, Mr. Rudy alleged that by making the remark, Mr. Tharoor had equated those travelling in the economy class with cattle.

He said the Prime Minister should seriously consider the ramifications of the remarks. To a query, Mr. Rudy said it was now up to Dr. Singh to clarify his position on the issue on his own or take action against Mr. Tharoor.

Terming as “irresponsible” the remark of the minister, the BJP leader said it reflected Congress’ “level of indecency and mentality of its leaders.”

Mr. Rudy further said AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi, endorsing austerity drive, travelled in Shatabdi Express for his recent visit to Ludhiana.

“But, it is unfortunate that about Rs one crore were spent, according to reports in a section of press, during his recent three-day visit to Tamil Nadu...thus the talk of austerity is a farce and a cruel joke,” he claimed.

Mr. Rudy said Mr. Gandhi should explain the expenses incurred on his visit to Tamil Nadu.

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