Twitter Fact-Checks Shashi Tharoor’s Post On Visible Minority India PM

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Congress leader Shashi Tharoor is under fire for his recent tweet on Rishi Sunak

New Delhi:

Congress leader Shashi Tharoor is under fire for his recent tweet on Rishi Sunak, in which stressed that it is “very rare” for the member of a “visible minority” to occupy a country’s “most powerful office” and questioned if it can happen here.

The 42-year-old Indian origin leader will be installed as Britain’s new Prime Minister today, a day after the ruling Conservatives elected him as their leader, clearing his way to 10, Downing Street.

Rishi Sunak was the frontrunner for the top post after former Prime Minister Boris Johnson opted out of the race in the aftermath of Liz Truss’ resignation after just 45 days in office.

Shortly before it became clear that rival Penny Mordaunt does not have enough votes of Tory MPs and Rishi Sunak is the next UK Prime Minister, Mr Tharoor tweeted, “If this does happen, I think all of us will have to acknowledge that theBrits have done something very rare in the world, to place a member of a visible minority in the most powerful office. As we Indians celebrate the ascent of @RishiSunak, let’s honestly ask: can it happen here?”

Soon after, Twitter users fact-checked Mr Tharoor, pointing out that India has had Dr Manmohan Singh – a Sikh – as a Prime Minister. Some users slammed the Thiruvananthapuram MP for making the remark even though he had served as a minister in Dr Singh’s cabinet. Others pointed out that India has had Muslim presidents and currently has Droupadi Murmu, from the tribal community, as head of the state.

Filmmaker and journalist Pritish Nandy said “we too had a member of a visible minority as Prime Minister for two terms” but added, “Now it looks tough, in fact impossible”.

Some users took a dig at Mr Tharoor’s illustrious academic background, saying he had studied Mughal history but forgot the history of the past few decades.

Markandey Katju, former Supreme court judge who has also served as chairman of the Press Council of India, said it is “wholly irrelevant” that Rishi Sunak is of Indian origin. The question, he said, is what the Tory leader has planned to salvage the UK’s economy.

The Twitter storm against Mr Tharoor comes at a time when he is also drawing friendly fire from his party over the recent election for Congress president, in which he finished a distant second to veteran party leader Mallikarjun Kharge.

In a sharp response to his allegations of “extremely serious irregularities” in the party’s internal polls, the Congress had said the senior leader was two-faced.

This morning, Mr Tharoor tweeted a frame showing Aamir Khan in the 2001 movie Lagaan alongside a photograph of Rishi Sunak. “From Lagaan se Lagaam, in just 75 years. Jai Hind,” a translation of the Hindi caption read. The post reflected the journey from India being a British colony to a person of Indian origin holding the reins of power in the UK.


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