Manmohan Singh terms Tharoor's Twitter comments as 'just a joke'

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New Delhi, Sep.18 (ANI): The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, on Friday, played down the comments made by Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor on the social network site Twitter, saying it was just a joke and should be looked at in a light hearted manner.

"(Tharoor's) comment was just a joke," said the Prime Minister on the sidelines of a function in the capital.

The Prime Minister's comment came shortly after Congress party spokesperson Manish Tewari said: "Action will be taken (against Tharoor) at an appropriate time."

Tewari further said that action against Tharoor was not ruled out.

He also justified Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot's statement on Thursday seeking Tharoor's resignation for what he called "irresponsible" comments on the social networking site Twitter.

"It was unfortunate and unbecoming on his part to make such comments. In my view he should tender his resignation as Minister," Gehlot had said.

"To make such irreverent comments is all the more despicable when one is holding a responsible position as that of the Minister of State for External Affairs," Gehlot told journalists at his official residence here after a "Roza Iftar" party on Thursday evening.

Gehlot had termed Tharoor's references posted on the site such as "cattle class" and "holy cows" as unacceptable in Indian politics.

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan also said Tharoor had no right to continue in the Union Cabinet.

"I believe that in a democracy, people are God. To refer to them as 'cattle' is an insult to them. And I believe that such a person has no right to be a Union minister," he told reporters.

Tharoor, who is on an official visit to Liberia, had earlier apologized through the Twitter medium, saying he was "sorry" for hurting any sentiments and that his words had been misunderstood.

"To those hurt by the belief that my repeating the phrase showed contempt: sorry. It's a silly expression, but means no disrespect to economy travellers, only to airlines for herding us in like cattle. Many have misunderstood," Tharoor said.

The minister said that he had learned belatedly of the fuss "over my tweet and pointed out that the phrase "cattle class" was used in the query, which he just repeated. (ANI)

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