'Narendra Modi like scorpion sitting on Shivling': Shashi Tharoor says remark 'by RSS source' in public for 6 years

Congress leader Shashi Tharoor has launched a fresh attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Quoting a profile on Modi in The Caravan from 2012, which in turn quoted an unnamed leader in the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Tharoor compared him to a "scorpion sitting on a Shivling".

While speaking at the Bengaluru Literature Festival on Saturday, Tharoor said the prime minister's "personality cult" has not been popular with the RSS and has been a cause of frustration within the group.

Tharoor said: "There is an extraordinarily striking metaphor expressed by an unnamed RSS source to journalist Vinod Jose of The Caravan, in which they express their frustration with their inability to curb Modi. The man says: 'Modi is like a scorpion sitting on a Shivling; you can't remove him with your hand, and you cannot hit it with a chappal either.'"

The Congress MP went on to call the metaphor "profound", saying you can either get stung while trying to remove the scorpion, or you can undermine all the sacred tenets of the faith represented by the Shivling by using a slipper on the arachnid. "Ultimately, you live with it with seething frustration," he said. Tharoor also said the analogy and the frustration of the RSS could be a clue to the complex dynamics shared between the Hindutva movement and the "Moditva" expression of it. However, he took to Twitter on Sunday to issue a clarification on the reports, which left out his reference to The Caravan article and only quoted him as making the scorpion-Shivling analogy. "In view of the unseemly demonisation of an out-of-context remark today involving a scorpion metaphor, my book #TheParadoxicalPrimeMinister cites and footnotes this article — please see the last paragraph of this article," the Congress leader said, sharing Vinod Jose's profile of Modi from 2012. "This comment (not by me) has been in the public domain for six years. RS Prasad making an issue of a 6-yr-old quote shows how little the BJP has to offer the nation. As for the media subserving the BJP's desire for 'controversy', when will this 'profession' develop any self-respect?"

Not long after reports on Tharoor's statement, Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had demanded a response from Congress president Rahul Gandhi, calling the MP's remarks a "horrific denunciation of Lord Mahadev."

"While Rahul Gandhi claims to be a Shiv bhakt, one of his leaders has almost abused the sanctity of the Shivling and Lord Mahadev by referring to a chappal attack through unnamed sources," ANI quoted him as saying. "Please reply to this very horrific denunciation of Lord Mahadev by giving an apology to what Tharoor has done."

Union minister Giriraj Singh, too, criticised Tharoor, saying he would have been "silenced" had he made such a statement on a prime minister in Pakistan. "This is India. Had he made such a statement in Pakistan, Tharoor would have been silenced. He hasn't insulted the prime minister; he has insulted crores of Hindus and Lord Shiv. All I'll say is that the Congress is crossing the line now," he was quoted as saying by ANI.

Furthermore, according to The New Indian ExpressTharoor, at the lit fest, also criticised the Centre for being the most centralised, top-heavy government in recent memory. The newspaper quoted him as saying: "As a result, the home minister does not know that the CBI director is being changed, the foreign minister is not aware of change in the government's foreign policy, and the defence minister does not know about changes made in the Rafale deal till the last moment."

Updated Date: Oct 30, 2018 20:59:10 IST