Congress leader Shashi Tharoor Tuesday hit back at the BJP for criticising him for describing External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s UN address as a “campaign” speech, saying one cannot hide behind the national flag and use the United Nations as a political platform.
Tharoor also said he felt a “bit rich” to be criticised by the BJP and claimed that Swaraj had mentioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi 10 times in her speech and spoke about India only five times.
Questioning whether Swaraj’s address was a UN speech or BJP slogans, he said she devoted the first half of her speech mentioning Modi’s vision for a “New India” and discussing programmes as the Swachh Bharat Mission.
“Bit rich to be criticised by the BJP for describing Sushma Swaraj’s speech as a campaign speech. She mentioned Narendra Modi 10 times during her address and spoke about/on behalf of India only five times. If you use the UN as a political platform you can’t hide behind the flag,” Tharoor said on Twitter.
“Most of the first half of the Sushma Swaraj speech was devoted to plugging Narendra Modi’s vision for “New India”: Swachh Bharat, Swasth Bharat, Samarth Bharat, Surakshit Bharat, Shikshit Bharat, Viksit Bharat, Urjawan Bharat, Shaktiman Bharat. Was this a UN speech or BJP slogans?” he asked.
The BJP Monday strongly reacted to Tharoor’s reported criticism of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s UN speech and had said that the opposition party defied a convention of all political parties speaking in the same voice on India’s stand abroad.
BJP spokesperson Sudhanshu Trivedi had said the Congress is being increasingly seen to be standing with Pakistan as Tharoor’s statement was not an isolated incident and the opposition party often spoke the language of the neighouring country.
He had told a press conference that the Congress should apologise to the country and said its stand on various issues appeared similar to that of Pakistan in “intent, language and style”.