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“I know that all may not understand some of the words I write, but this time, they are trying to deliberately create a misunderstanding that I insulted the fishermen,” said Shashi Tharoor.

Was mocking myself Tharoor on squeamishly vegetarian comment after outrageTwitter/Shashi Tharoor
news Lok Sabha 2019 Saturday, March 30, 2019 - 16:32

After his tweet triggered controversy, Shashi Tharoor, Thiruvananthapuram’s MP and UDF’s candidate for the Lok Sabha elections, had to call a press meet at his residence to explain his ‘good intentions’. From the man who once wrote ‘cattle class’, and another time posted ‘exasperating farrago of distortions’, the more commonly used ‘squeamishly’ should not have raised eyebrows, except it preceded a sensitive term like vegetarian, and it came during a campaign visit to a fish market.

Moments after Shashi Tharoor on Thursday wrote, “Found a lot of enthusiasm at the fish market even for a squeamishly vegetarian MP”, his social media post was met with angry reactions. Many took offense, some commented on his elite background, others pointed out that the tweet exposed his ‘upper caste mentality’ and his insensitiveness, rival political parties criticized him.

Hours later, he tweeted the meaning of the word in Malayalam with a caption, “For those Malayali leftist politicians who are currently having difficulty understanding my English”. This only made it worse with many angry comments pointing out that his retort was in bad taste, others followed suit with memes.

On Saturday, Tharoor said in Malayalam, “I wrote three tweets about my visit. One where they shower me with love, the second where they high-five me, and the third is this. I was mocking myself. I know that all may not understand some of the words I write, but this time, they are trying to deliberately create a misunderstanding that I insulted the fishermen. Everyone in my family eats fish except me. I decided at the age of six that I’d be a vegetarian.”

Tharoor said that it is those who did nothing for the fishermen who are now insulting him. More than a year ago when Cyclone Ockhi hit the coasts of Thiruvananthapuram, he had gone the next morning to the parish priest’s office, along with Congress leaders Oommen Chandy and Ramesh Chennithala, and made some calls. “I was the first one to alert the Union Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, to get the help of the Coastguard and the Navy. I can also sadly say that I have visited every house that was affected, every home that had lost a family member. They have seen me there. But have you seen there the BJP candidate (Kummanam Rajasekharan) who was also the state president of the party at that time? Mr C Diwakaran (LDF candidate) who stays nearby had also done nothing. And two years later, they try to insult me!” Tharoor said.

It is a false campaign, the MP said, and elections should not be won using such false campaigns. “I am the one who recommended that our fishermen who went out of their way to rescue stranded people at the time of the (August) floods, for the Nobel prize. If they don’t fish one day, they would have nothing at home to eat. Still they went out with their boats to save people. I must also be the only one who raised questions on the funds for Ockhi in the Parliament for five times. But when the central government gave Rs 133 crore to the state government for Ockhi as relief, they kept quiet,” Tharoor claimed.

He said he is going to stop taking digs at himself at least until the election campaigning is over. 

 

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