Congress leader Shashi Tharoor has once again kicked up controversy with his words. This time, allegedly quoting an "RSS source". Speaking at the Bangalore Literature Festival, he said that the "personality cult" that Modi seems to have developed does not really gel well with many in the RSS.
#WATCH Shashi Tharoor in Bengaluru, says, "There's an extraordinarily striking metaphor expressed by an unnamed RSS source to a journalist, that, "Modi is like a scorpion sitting on a Shivling, you can't remove him with your hand & you cannot hit it with a chappal either."(27.10) pic.twitter.com/E6At7WrCG5— ANI (@ANI) October 28, 2018
Tharoor quoted journalist Vinod K Jose of the Caravan, saying that there is an "extraordinarily striking metaphor", in how the RSS showed its "profound frustration with their inability to curb Mr Modi- and the man says 'Mr Modi is a like a Scorpion sitting on a Shivling. You cannot move it with your hand and you cannot hit it with a chappal either'."
This comment drew laughter from applause from the audience at the lit fest, but politicians and others in the "Twitterverse" did not seem too amused by it. Here are a few reactions that Tharoor's comments drew.
NDTV reports that the Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad demanded an apology from the Congress chief. "Shashi Tharoor, who is an accused in a murder case, has attempted to disrespect Lord Shiva. I seek a reply from Rahul Gandhi, who claims to be a bhakt of Lord Shiva, on this horrific denunciation of Hindu gods by a Congress MP. Rahul Gandhi must apologise to all Hindus," he tweeted.
Shashi Tharoor who is accused in a murder case has attempted to disrespect Lord Shiva.— Ravi Shankar Prasad (@rsprasad) October 28, 2018
I seek a reply from Rahul Gandhi who claims himself to be a Bhakt of Lord Shiva on this horrific denunciation of Hindu gods by a Congress MP.
Rahul Gandhi must apologize to all Hindus. pic.twitter.com/QeShJoCHDZ
In response to all the criticism, Tharoor himself took to Twitter to make a few clarifications. He went after the media that he claimed was, in his own words, "subserving the BJP's desire for "controversy", when will this "profession"develop any self-respect?" he tweeted. He also said that the quote was not his, but was in the public domain for at least six years now.
This comment (not by me) has been in the public domain for six years. RSPrasad making an issue of a 6yr old quote shows how little new the BJP has to offer the nation. As for media subserving the BJP's desire for "controversy", when will this "profession"develop any self-respect? https://t.co/RF8xxQLjzq— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) October 28, 2018
At this time, people also started to attack Vinod K Jose on Twitter, demanding he reveals the source behind the quote.
How can a journalist betray his source? But I can tell you this: Not just the RSS leader, even Gordhan Zadaphia, Modi’s home minister during riots, on whose chair Amit Shah began sitting after riots, repeated the same scorpion quote when he fought with Modi, circa 2011-2014. https://t.co/xakeLBi3ec— Vinod K. Jose (@vinodjose) October 29, 2018
He also seemed to back up Tharoor in this case, asking people to actually listen to what was said
Instead of looking inward who the RSS guy is, why go for a tertiary source (Tharoor) in this?— Vinod K. Jose (@vinodjose) October 29, 2018
Also, to be fair to the primary source, the RSS leader, he meant no disrespect to Shiva, he was calling Modi scorpion! The scorpion sitting on shivaling, explaining RSS’s predicament. https://t.co/PEDVd3oIIV
Twitter user Sachin dubey seems to have summed up the entire controversy with this stinger: