Shashi Tharoor calls Arvind Kejriwal a eunuch. Then gets flak for his apology

India

Shashi Tharoor followed up an acerbic put-down of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Tuesday with an apology that, well, didn’t quite leave everyone humming with satisfaction.

The Congress MP isn’t happy with what he sees as a gulf between Kejriwal’s words and actions with respect to ongoing protests against the amendment Citizenship Act, or CAA.

Asked by a TV channel if Arvind Kejriwal was reading the “silent majority’s” mood ahead of the assembly election, Tharoor said the Aam Aadmi Party leader was “trying to have it both ways”, by criticising the government’s citizenship policies on one hand but not taking “any tangible action” on the other.

“He’s not even shown the human compassion one expects of the chief minister towards the victims of violence in his own state,” Shashi Tharoor told CNN News 18. Then came the offending remarks:

“…Mr Kejriwal really wants power without responsibility, which we all know has been the prerogative of the eunuch for ages. And that kind of completely ineffective chief ministerial approach is apparently going to safeguard his space. I don’t know. I mean, you can spend all your political life trying not to make enemies, but at the end of the day, what do you stand for?…”

– Shashi Tharoor

That didn’t go down well.

On Tuesday, in an apology posted on his Twitter page, Shashi Tharoor said he’d used “an old line from British politics”. He called his remarks the “quote about ‘power without responsibility'”, and made no mention at all of his use of the word “eunuch”.

The original line, in fact, ended with “the prerogative of the harlot” — meaning a prostitute or a sexually promiscuous woman — and is attributed to Rudyard Kipling, and later, former British Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin. The “eunuch” variation was used by the playwright Tom Stoppard and the Sir Humphrey Appleby, a character in the BBC sitcom Yes, Prime Minister.

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One of the Twitter users commenting on Tharoor’s post pointed that out.

Others flagged what they saw as inadequacies in his apology.

We’ll leave you with this one.

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