New Delhi: Congress leader Shashi Tharoor defended himself over the “Swachh Bharat” controversy on Tuesday and said that he was surprised at the reaction of some of his party colleagues over his positive response to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's invitation to join the cleanliness campaign.
“Prime Minister extended the invitation to me explicitly as a Congress leader. I am surprised by the reactions of the fellow party workers on the issue,” Tharoor told ANI.
The former union minister further said that Modi had invited eight other people who are not from the political background.
“I was the ninth person he invited,” he added.
Tharoor had stirred controversy after he accepted Modi's invite to be a part of the “Clean India” campaign and said that he would be honoured to accept it.
The invite was given as part of a challenge similar to ALS Ice Bucket and eight other people apart from Tharoor were also invited.
Shortly after the controversy, Tharoor had said that his acceptance of the call to support the campaign does not imply that he endorses BJP's "core Hindutva" agenda and he remains a "proud Congressman."
Talking about the Prime Minister's 'Swachh Bharat' campaign, the Congress leader said that it has to be a sustained effort for the nation and not just another “photo opportunity”.
He added that Clean India should not be “tokenism” but a sustained programme.