Congress leader and Thiruvananthapuram MP Shashi Tharoor on Tuesday withdrew his transphobic statement against Arvind Kejriwal while condemning the Delhi CM for not showing support to the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protests in the national capital.
The Congress MP, in an interview to News18 on Monday, said, “Mr Kejriwal really wants power without responsibility, which we all know has been the prerogative of the eunuch for ages.” He made the comment while criticising the Delhi Chief Minister for remaining silent on the anti-CAA protests in the capital and on the violence faced by students of JNU, Jamia Millia Islamia University and Aligarh Muslim University.
#TharoorOnNews18 – Mr. Kejriwal really wants power without responsibility, which we all know has been the prerogative of eunuchs for ages: Congress leader Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor)
Watch #NewsEpicentre with @maryashakil. #CitizenshipShowdown pic.twitter.com/WhcP5paCAt— News18 (@CNNnews18) January 13, 2020
On Tuesday, following a widespread outcry on social media, Tharoor tweeted a clarification.
“Apologies to those who found my quote about "power without responsibility" offensive. It's an old line from British politics, going back to Kipling & Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin, and most recently used by Tom Stoppard. I recognize that its use today was inappropriate and withdraw it,” Tharoor tweeted, the usage of the term ‘eunuch,’ a derogatory term used to refer to transgender persons.
In his controversial interview, Tharoor alleged that Kejriwal was trying to balance the situation without taking any sides.
“Well, I think Mr Kejriwal is really trying to have it both ways. He has made statements deploring the CAA and the NRC saying why it is necessary and the government should withdraw it, but he has not taken any tangible action. He has not even shown the human compassion one expects of a chief minister towards the victims of violence in his own state,” he had said.
He added that “if in any other state, students had been bashed up in this manner, the Chief Minister of the state would have visited them in the hospital or at their homes or even victors their campuses.”
Criticising the Delhi CM for his non-committal stance on the burning issue which has sparked nationwide protests, Tharoor added, “You can spend your entire political life trying not to make enemies. But at the end of the day, what do you stand for, what values do you represent, what principles are you trying to put forward before the electorate. It seems to me that this where the chief minister of Delhi has become a great disappointment.”
Following his interview, several Twitter users had called out the Congress MP for the derogatory statement.
Sir if I'm not mistaken the Baldwin quote referred to harlot not eunuch. Stoppard's was "responsibility without power is the prerogative of the eunuch" also used by Sir Humphrey in Yes Minister. In either case not appropriate in our context.— Aditya Menon (@AdityaMenon22) January 13, 2020
Mr. @ShashiTharoor, as someone who "teaches" others English, we would have expected you to be a little sensitive when using words like "eunuch". How about you go and teach yourself some manners and new words and stop being a transphobe.— Dipannita (@GrinchUnlimited) January 14, 2020
On Monday, 20 opposition parties, led by the Congress, met at the Parliament to discuss the current political situation, following protests against the CAA. However, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal refrained from attending the meeting. The Aam Admi Party had previously announced that it would skip the meeting against the CAA and the National Register of Citizens (NRC). AAP representatives did not attend the meeting taking into account the upcoming legislative assembly elections in Delhi in February 2020, PTI reported.