In unusual comments, Congress spokesperson Shahshi Tharoor today said the opposition would be "churlish" in ignoring the voices of inclusive outreach of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Tharoor, who was replying to questions on an article written by him in an American news website, insisted that the "accommodative and inclusive language should be welcomed and it would be churlish to ignore that".
He said he has not heard intolerant language nor the language used in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections after Modi was sworn-in as the Prime Minister. He described the Prime Minster as "Modi 2.0" which he said has replaced "Modi 1.0". In the article under the heading "How Narendra Modi may have evolved into Modi 2.0", Tharoor has emphasised that "to almost everyone's surprise... Modi and the BJP have eschewed the hubris and triumphalism they might have been assumed to have earned with their sweeping victory".
Citing various instances, the Congress leader has wondered whether this all adds up to a "Modi 2.0, a very different figure in government from the ogre some of us had feared and demonised for years?" "It was still too early to tell, but the initial signs are encouraging.... An ambitious man, Modi appears to realise that if he wants to make a success of his government, he will have to lead the nation from the centre and not from the extreme right where he had built his base in the BJP," he said. Tharoor argued that just as Modi remade himself from a "hate-figure into an avatar of modernity and progress", he was seeking to remake the BJP from a vehicle of Hindu chauvinism to a natural party of governance.
"This will mean a change in both language and tone, as he has demonstrated from day one," he said. Tharoor said that for an opposition Member of Parliament like himself, "it would be churlish not to acknowledge Modi 2.0's inclusive outreach and to welcome his more conciliatory statements and actions". He added that the moment Modi says or does something divisive or sectarian in the "Modi 1.0" mould, the Congress party will oppose him.