Under fire from party colleagues for his controversial praise of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress spokesperson Shashi Tharoor has written to the party’s communication chief Ajay Maken to stress that he remained committed to the organisation and the principles of secularism.
“By praising him [Modi] for specific things, we help frame public expectation of his continued behaviour and raise the bar against which we will judge him in future,” Mr. Tharoor said in his letter.
The letter comes in the wake of the Congress dissociating itself from Mr. Tharoor’s blog post on the Huffington Post website and senior party leaders attacking him for it.
Even as party spokesperson Shobha Oza stressed on Thursday that the article reflected Mr. Tharoor’s “personal views”, senior Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar said he was “deeply disappointed” that an “intelligent” man should want to rush to judgement in this manner and praise Mr. Modi so effusively.
In his letter to Mr. Maken, Mr. Tharoor wrote, “Our credibility as attacker will be far greater if we have been gracious when it seems to be warranted… We can attack him on actions and policies with which we disagree.”
Last night, Mr. Tharoor had tweeted: “I stand by every 1 of my criticisms of @narendramodi in the past just as I appreciate his words in the present. Will watch his future actions. Indian liberals shd understand we can only win on the quality of our arguments, not the intensity of our anger. Our virtue isn’t self-evident.”
Congress sources said on Friday that the party feels the controversy should be closed now that Mr. Tharoor — one of the party’s 44 MPs in the Lok Sabha — has given a written explanation.