Under attack from within, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor today wrote to the party explaining his controversial praise of Prime Minister Narendra Modi making it clear that he stood committed to the organisation and the principles of secularism.
In a letter to Ajay Maken, Chairman of the AICC Communication Department, he said, "By praising him (Modi) for specific things, we help frame public expectation of his continued behaviour and raise the bar against which we will judge him in future."
Tharoor's letter comes against the backdrop of strong criticism from Congress MP Mani Shankar Aiyar calling him "immature" and a "chameleon. He had said yesterday he was "deeply disappointed" that an "intelligent" man like Tharoor should want to rush to judgement in this manner and come out with this effusive remarks.
Another senior leader Digvijay Singh today advised Tharoor, who had written an article in an American news website in which he head said Modi was looking to turn himself from a "hate figure into an avatar of modernity and progress", not to jump to conclusions.
The Congress party itself had yesterday distanced itself from Tharoor's praise of Modi and said they were his personal views.
Party sources today said that the party feels the matter should be put to rest now with Tharoor's explanation.
"Our credibility as attacker will be far greater if we have been gracious when it seems to be warranted," Tharoor said adding it would be all the better to attack him when he reveals his true face.
"We can attack him on actions and policies with which we disagree," he said.
The Congress MP from Thiruvananthapuram reiterated his commitment to the party and its secular principles.
He has also maintained his views have been misrepresented in the media.
Yesterday, Tharoor said he was not a 'Modi fan' and that his party would robustly attack him if he reverts to 'Modi 1.0' avatar.
When Asked why Congress cannot be called Principal Opposition, Singh replied, "A recognised party must have a minimum strength of 55 in Lok Sabha and 25 in Rajya Sabha. Unfortunately, we don't have the figure of 55, so we are not the recognised party as such in the Lok Sabha."
"Therefore, it depends now on the government and Parliament to decide whether they would like to amend the act itself or not," Singh said.
Congress is not having the mandatory strength of one tenth of the total members in the Lok Sabha and doesn't stand to be recognised as Principal Opposition to the Government.