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Friday, Nov 15, 2019

PM Modi ‘our representative’ outside India, ‘deserves respect’: Tharoor

Congress MP Shashi Tharoor has said that the Indian PM needed to be respected when he was representing the country outside. He also said that people need to understand that the foreign policy of the country shouldn’t be seen from the prism of party politics. PM Modi is currently touring the United States.

india Updated: Sep 23, 2019 00:46 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Shashi Tharoor said the country had a right to question Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he was in India but needed to show respect when he was outside, representing the country.
Shashi Tharoor said the country had a right to question Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he was in India but needed to show respect when he was outside, representing the country.(HT Photo)

Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor has said the prime minister deserves respect when he visits foreign countries as India’s representative, but when he is in the country, people have the right to question him, reported PTI.

Tharoor’s comments come at a time when Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s week-long tour of the United States has created considerable buzz including his Sunday interaction with the Indian Diaspora in an event named “Howdy, Modi!” in Houston.

Congress MP from Kerala, who has invited attention for his comments on the Prime Minister in the past, was speaking at a session organised by the All India Professional Congress in Pune district of Maharashtra.

“The prime minister deserves respect in foreign countries as he is a representative of our nation. But when he is in India, we have the right to ask him questions,” Tharoor said.

The Congress MP had made a similar point on Saturday while speaking at the Pune International Literary Festival.

“I would like to send an implicit message outside. We may have differences within our country but when it comes to India’s interest, it is not BJP’s foreign policy nor is it Congress’ foreign policy. It is the Indian foreign policy,” Tharoor was quoted by the PTI as saying.

Watch | A billion eyes on ‘Howdy Modi’, how and when to watch the PM’s Houston gala


Tharoor had also said that while he had the right to criticise the government on domestic issues, Pakistan didn’t have any right to lecture India on Jammu and Kashmir.

“I will continue to attack the government on domestic issues, but when it comes to the international position, I feel Pakistan is the least qualified country to criticise India on Kashmir issue. Look at what they have done to PoK (Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir),” he said.

Also Read:‘You’ve suffered a lot, together we’ve to build new Kashmir: Modi to Kashmiri Pandits in Houston

On the row over Hindi language, Tharoor said he was in favour of a three-language formula and found the BJP’s ideology of promoting “Hindi, Hinduism and Hindustan” “dangerous” before adding that the saffron party’s idea of Hinduism was a “political ideology” and didn’t have any connection with Hinduism, said a PTI report.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Wednesday had clarified during a Hindustan organised summit on Wednesday in Ranchi that he had never asked for imposition of Hindi over native languages in the country but advocated its use as the second language.

Earlier in August, Tharoor had participated in the #LanguageChallenge thrown by the Prime Minister who had suggested that all Indians should learn one word a day in any Indian language. Tharoor had tweeted within minutes of the PM floating the idea.

“I welcome this departure from Hindi dominance & gladly take him up on this #LanguageChallenge... I will tweet a word daily in English, Hindi & Malayalam. Others can do this in other languages.”

Tharoor had landed into trouble with his own party recently for supporting party colleague Jairam Ramesh’s statement that ‘demonising the Prime Minister was wrong and he should be praised for the right things he does.’ Tharoor went on to say that there was no harm in supporting good work and one should understand why people were backing Modi.

He was cleared by the Congress after he clarified that he was not supporting PM Narendra Modi, he also said two cases were pending against him for criticizing the PM.