'Scorpion on Shivaling': Tharoor ruffles BJP feathers

'Scorpion on Shivaling': Tharoor ruffles BJP feathers

Shashi Tharoor speaks at the Bangalore Literature Festival on Sunday. DH Photo/S K Dinesh

Congress lawmaker Shashi Tharoor stoked a fresh controversy on Sunday with his reference to a 2012 report in which an RSS leader reportedly described Narendra Modi — the then chief minister of Gujarat — as a “scorpion sitting on a Shivaling”.

While the BJP was quick to dub the Congress MP’s comment “a very horrific denunciation of Lord Mahadev”, Tharoor hit back, saying the remark was in public domain for years and that the BJP was making an issue about a comment not made by him.

Delivering a talk on his latest book ‘The Paradoxical Prime Minister’ at the Bangalore Literature Festival, Tharoor said Modi’s Cabinet ministers travel regularly to Nagpur to take directions from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) whose functionaries are frustrated with Modi’s personality cult. 

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“There’s an extraordinary striking metaphor expressed by an unnamed RSS source to journalist Vinu Joseph of Caravan to express this frustration. Modi was described as a scorpion sitting on a Shivaling; you can’t remove it with your hand for fear of getting stung and you can’t hit it with a chappal either as that undermines all the sacred tenets of the faith,” he said.

Senior BJP leader and Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad reacted sharply to Shashi Tharoor’s remark and demanded an apology from the Congress, saying the nation has watched his “brazen comments” and would give him and his party “a befitting reply”.

He called Tharoor “a small” Congress leader “chargesheeted with serious allegations”.

“Rahul Gandhi, you claim yourself to be a Shiv Bhakt. Please reply to this very horrific denunciation of Lord Mahadeva by issuing an apology to what Tharoor has done. This chappal attack is deplorable and we condemn it,” the minister said.

He said Tharoor’s remark reflected “the desperation” of the grand old party. “The entire nation is watching his brazen comments. They will give a befitting reply,” Prasad said.

Following Prasad’s reaction, Tharoor later came up with a clarification on Twitter, saying the Union minister was making an issue about a comment which was not made by him.

“This comment (not by me) has been in the public domain for six years. RS Prasad 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?” the Congress leader tweeted.

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