Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday appeared to downplay the controversy around Shashi Tharoor’s “cattle class” remark, but the Congress warned that “appropriate action” would be taken against the minister of state for external affairs.
Asked to comment on the issue at an iftar hosted by him, Singh said, “Nok-jhonk to hoti rahti hai (Sparring does happen).” Tharoor apologised for his remark. “It’s a silly expression but means no disrespect to economy travellers...,” he said.
“Many have misunderstood…. To those hurt by the belief that my repeating the phrase showed contempt: sorry.” But the Congress rejected the apology. Spokesman Manish Tewari said, “The party will take appropriate action at an appropriate time.”