Thiruvananthapuram, Aug 29 : Lok Sabha MP from here Dr Shashi Tharoor, who faces a backlash over praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has opined that the latter has been effective in raising his vote percentage across the country from 31 per cent in 2014 to 37 per cent in 2019.
As a party the Congress which could get 19 per cent votes needs to understand why, Mr Tharoor said in a letter to Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) President Mullappally Ramachandran on Wednesay, who sought an explanation from him over his praising the Prime Minister.
He said 'Mr Modi has done little worth praising, but he has been effective in raising his vote percentage across India'.
"Clearly enough voters thought he was delivering something for them -- we need to acknowledge that, but point out its limitations ....yes, Mr Modi taken steps to build toilets, but 60 percent of them don't have running water... yes, he gave poor rural women gas cylinders but 92 per cent of them can't afford refills," Mr Tharoor said.
"But if we act as if he has done nothing, however flawed, and people still voted for him, then we are saying that people are stupid, which is not a position that wins you votes," he said.
"I want Congress, together with progressive, secular and liberal parties, to come back to power. For that, Nationally, it is not enough to keep attracting the core Congress supporters."
"We need to win back the trust -- and votes -- of those who deserted us for the BJP in the last two elections. That requires addressing what has attracted them to Modi. Then, our criticism has more credibility. That's all I have been saying," he clarified.
"Several loyal party men have taken me to task for the phrase “don't demonise Modi”, when no one has been urging the Prime Minister not to continue demonising Congress leaders. "Don't demonise Modi" is not my phrase -- they need to ask the person who used it what he meant."
"But it’s clear that the BJP, for its part, clearly thinks I have demonised Modi, because they have filed two cases against me for my critical remarks, in one case seeking an arrest warrant, which my Congress critics should hail as a badge of honour, instead of demonising me!," he said in the letter.
"As to your point about waiting for a party forum, both Mr Jairam Ramesh's comment and Mr Abhishek Manu Singhvi's were made in public forums and I was responding to comments on social media, which as I have explained to you before, require responses in real time."
"As you know, I am not a member of any other party forum where I could have expressed my views, and issues raised in public need to be dealt with in public,'' the Congress leader said. (UNI)