Another tweet, another debate.
“Gandhiji said — Work is Workship — and we enjoy holiday on his birthday. He would have wanted us to work harder today,” Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor tweeted on Friday, October 2 — the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
Widely criticised and even publicly rebuked by his Congress party recently for referring to economy class travel as “cattle class” in one of his tweets, Tharoor, however, seems to be in the clear this time.
Even his opponents have supported him for questioning if Mahatma’s birthday should be a holiday.
To drive home the point, the former UN diplomat cited Vietnamese vice-president Nguyen Thi Doan, who is on a six-day visit to India.
“In Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh’s birthday is a working day and citizens are expected to put in extra effort at work to honour him,” Tharoor said, quoting the Vietnamese leader.
Ho was the leader of Vietnamese nationalist movement.
“Gandhiji’s 140th birth anniversary. Unusually sunny and bright: metaphor for light he still shines,” Tharoor said of the inter-faith prayer meeting at Rajghat, the memorial to the Father of the Nation.
The opposition BJP, which has been critical of his tweets, appeared to be inclined to listen to the minister.
“It seems for the first time Tharoor has suggested something sensible,” party spoke-sman Prakash Javadekar said.
The Congress, however, was cautious. “I don’t think the minister has meant anything in a negative or disrespectful manner. Different persons are entitled to have different views on how to commemorate the memory of departed icons…,” said spokesman Abhishek Singhvi.