New Delhi: Minister of State for Human Resource Development Shashi Tharoor claims that many Bharatiya Janata Party leaders had reached out to him to regret the comment made by Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi against his wife Sunanda Pushkar. "A very very large number of BJP people, including some former ministers, reached out to me saying they regretted the deplorable conduct of one of their own," the newly-elected minister told Karan Thapar on Devil's Advocate.
Taking potshots at Tharoor and his wife, the BJP leader had on Monday called the latter "a Rs 50 crore girlfriend". "There was a Congress leader who was a minister in Parliament. He was accused of amassing wealth from cricket. He had said in Parliament that he is not connected to the Rs 50 crore that are in the lady's name…Have you ever heard of Rs 50 crore girlfriend?" he had asked addressing a rally.
Responding to this, Tharoor had said that he had never shied away from acknowledging his wife in public or private. "Show me where I claimed I had nothing to do with her. Never said that. Proudly acknowledged her publicly and privately and in Parliament," the Congress minister tweeted. "My wife is worth a lot more than your imaginary 50 crores. She is priceless. But you need to be able to love someone to understand that," he further tweeted to his 1.5 million followers on Twitter. It got retweeted over 800 times, sparking a Twitter clash between Tharoor and Modi followers.
Here is an excerpt from the Devil's Advocate interview:
Karan Thapar: One of the sad things was that your return was greeted by a low blow by Narendra Modi. But you responded with remarkable wit and aplomb. But as a politician were you upset by the fact that a fellow politician had chosen to target your wife?
Shashi Tharoor: Karan, I have said everything I have had to say, it is time we moved on.
Karan Thapar: Does it ever worry you that given the nature of Indian politics, your opponents, perhaps the BJP in particular, will keep raking up the past and throwing it back at you?
Shashi Tharoor: I hope not. First of all there isn't anything in the past. As I said there is no money involved, no acts of corruption. I am not sure what they can keep raking up are nothing except allegations and they have already been doing that.
Karan Thapar: You know the nature of Indian politics.
Shashi Tharoor: But at the same time when this little business happened I was gratified by the enormous number. A very very large number of BJP people, including some former ministers, reached out to me saying they regretted the deplorable conduct of one of their own.