Shashi Tharoor has found himself in hot water after right-wing handles on social media and RSS supporters lashed out at him over a comment he made about Narendra Modi during a discussion on his book The Paradoxical Prime Minister.
An ANI video showed Tharoor saying the following at a Bengaluru event:
Immediately after ANI posted the video, union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad demanded Rahul Gandhi apologise on behalf of Tharoor. NDTV reports that the minister said, "Rahul Gandhi, you claim yourself be to a Shiv bhakt (devotee). Please reply to this very horrific denunciation of Lord Mahadev."
Tharoor tweeted a clarification suggesting that he quoted a source who was mentioned in a Caravan magazine article by Vinod K Jose. The article, titled 'Emperor Uncrowned' was published on March 1, 2012 in Caravan magazine. The article explores the rise of Narendra Modi in the ranks of BJP and in the Indian political scenario. In one of the sections, the article speaks about how Modi has often been in conflict with the RSS and had been pulled up on some occasions for not following its diktat like the rest of the paracharaks.
"He always used to do things differently from others in the group—if all of us wore long-sleeved kurtas, he used to wear short sleeves, and when all of us wore khaki shorts, he wore white shorts. And I remember one day the visiting RSS leader Golwalkar questioning Modi in public for keeping a trimmed beard," Shankarsinh Vaghela, a former chief minister of Gujarat and termed as a 'bitter rival' of Modi is quoted saying in the article.
The article concludes with the following paragraph, which Tharoor seems to have quoted: "Shortly before I left Gujarat, one RSS leader described his own feelings in a bitter sigh: "Shivlingmeinbichhubaithahai. Na usko haath se utaar sakte ho, na uskojoota maar sakte ho." A scorpion is sitting on Shivling, the holy phallus of Lord Shiva. It can neither be removed by hand nor slapped with a shoe."