Congress MP Shashi Tharoor on Thursday downplayed Prime Minister Narendra Modi praising him for his address at Oxford Union. He also refuted reports that Congress president Sonia Gandhi had pulled him up over the leakage in media of his views against the party's tactics in Parliament.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had applauded the Thiruvananthapuram MP for his much-applauded address at Oxford Union.
“Shashiji’s remarks have gone viral on Youtube,” Modi said at the inauguration of the Speaker's Research Initiative for Parliamentarians at the Parliament House complex on Thursday.
In the debate , Tharoor had demanded reparation payments by Britain to India for its 200-year colonial rule, which, he said, led to the crumbling of India's economy.
“Oxford debate has a huge significance. It is good that Shashiji was there.... His speech gelled with feelings of patriotic Indians on the issue and also shows what impression one can leave with effective arguments by saying the right things at the right place. It reflects the expressiveness of an Indian citizen,” the PM said.
Modi said the significance of Tharoor's speech lay in the timing and place, which many times becomes a “turning point” of events. “It is important what we leave behind at the right place. The occasion is also important.”
Tharoor, who was seated in the front row and among the few non-BJP MPs present in the gathering, acknowledged the praise with a smile. Later, the former union minister told reporters that he “feels honoured” at the praise from the Prime Minister.
Later in the day, Tharoor, however, downplayed PM's praise.
In an interview to NDTV, he said, "Don't read too much into the PM praising me." He also said that he is not joining the BJP.
Modi's praise of Tharoor came a day after reports that Congress president Sonia Gandhi had pulled up the former union minister over the leakage in media of his views against party's tactics in Parliament.
But in the interview Tharoor refuted it, saying that report of Sonia Gandhi scolding him is media fabrication.
He also took Twitter to give his reaction.
Thanking the PM for his praise, he said that Congress' demand remain, a reference to his party's demand of resignations of external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and chief ministers of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh over the Lalit Modi and Vyapam issues.
Tharoor has been in news for praising Modi on many occasions ever since he came to power last year. He had also accepted the Prime Minister's invitation to join the 'Clean India' campaign, praised his campaign on yoga and also remarked that Modi leaves a positive impact on the countries he visits.