Shashi Tharoor was speaking at the 7th edition of the Bangalore Literature Festival (BLF), in Bengaluru.
- Shashi Tharoor says RSS disapproves of "personality cult" around PM Modi
- Says RSS frustrated at being unable to curb him, quotes unnamed "source"
- Triggers social media backlash, critics slam "drop in public discourse"
Congress lawmaker Shashi Tharoor has stirred up a controversy with a new analogy on Prime Minister Narendra Modi — one that he attributed to an "RSS source" of a journalist. Speaking at an event in Bengaluru, Mr Tharoor, whose book on PM Modi was recently released, said the "personality cult" of the Prime Minister did not sit well with many in the RSS establishment. The ideological mentor of the BJP, he said, also found it "extremely difficult" to "curb" PM Modi.
There's an "extraordinarily striking metaphor", he said, in which the RSS expressed their "profound frustration with their inability to curb Mr Modi – and the man says 'Mr Modi is a like a Scorpion sitting on a Shivling. You cannot move it with your hand and you cannot hit it with a chappal either'."
#WATCH Shashi Tharoor in Bengaluru, says, "There's an extraordinarily striking metaphor expressed by an unnamed RSS source to a journalist, that, "Modi is like a scorpion sitting on a Shivling, you can't remove him with your hand & you cannot hit it with a chappal either."(27.10) pic.twitter.com/E6At7WrCG5
– ANI (@ANI) October 28, 2018
Within hours, Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad demanded an apology from the Congress chief. "Rahul Gandhi, you claim yourself be to a Shiv bhakt (devotee). Please reply to this very horrific denunciation of Lord Mahadev," the minister was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
Many on Twitter also expressed outrage about the statement of the 62-year-old former union minister, who earlier triggered a row with his "Hindu Taliban" comment.
Author and screenwriter Advaita Kala tweeted, "In the past two days PM Modi has been called on different public platforms – a namak haram, a dengue mosquito who needs to be exterminated with pesticide and a scorpion – by those who complain about a drop in public and political discourse."
Last month, Mr Tharoor had triggered a political storm among the BJP ranks after he said if the BJP wins in 2019, they will "tear up the constitution of India and write a new one".
He said it would "enshrine the principle of Hindu Rashtra, will remove equality for minorities, that will create a Hindu Pakistan and that isn't what Mahatma Gandhi, Nehru, Sardar Patel, Maulana Azad and great heroes of freedom struggle fought for".
When the outraged BJP hit back, Mr Tharoor questioned if there was a "Taliban emerging within Hinduism now".