Under attack from within, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Friday wrote to the party explaining his controversial praise of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The Congress MP from Thiruvanathapuram made it clear he stood committed to his party and the principles of secularism.
In a letter to Ajay Maken, chairman of the All Indian Congress Committee’s communication department, he has said: "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."
Tharoor's letter comes against the backdrop of strong criticism from Congress MP Mani Shankar Aiyar who called him "immature" and attacked his "chameleon-like" behaviour. Aiyar had said on Thursday that he was "deeply disappointed" that an "intelligent" man like Tharoor should want to rush to judgement in this manner.
Senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh on Friday advised Tharoor, who had written an article for a US news website in which he said Modi was looking to turn himself from a "hate figure into an avatar of modernity and progress", not to jump to conclusions.
The Congress also distanced itself from Tharoor's praise of Modi and said they were his personal views. Party sources on Friday said the leadership feels the matter should be put to rest now that Tharoor's has made an explanation.