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Ramachandra Guha’s ‘dynast’ remark sparks Twitter war with Shashi Tharoor

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Tribune Web Desk
Chandigarh, January 19

Historian Ramachandra Guha’s recent remarks about Rahul Gandhi being a “fifth-generation dynast” have appeared to cause a furore on Twitter, and triggered a debate with senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor.

Guha remarks at the Kerala Literature festival have divided Twitter. In the same segment, Guha also called Prime Minister Narendra Modi a self-made man but said Kerala’s election of Rahul Gandhi meant that it was “handing over an advantage to Narendra Modi”,

The remarks have drawn criticism from supporters of Congress, forcing Guha to issue a long thread of clarification on Twitter.

Guha said in his thread of tweets: “In view of the kerfuffle (to use a Tharoorian term) caused by the slanted and selective PTI report on my #KLF speech, a thread stating/restating my views on Rahul, Modi, Hindutva and India”.

“His lack of focus and administrative experience and, most importantly, his being a fifth generation dynast are a great disadvantage for Rahul when it comes to winning General Elections. That said, it was patronizing of me to chastise Malayalis for sending him to Parliament.”

"In ‘Presidential’ style General Elections, voters tend to prefer Modi to Rahul because the former is more experienced and in political terms self-made. That said, I have been for many years a sharp critic of Modi‘s policies, as in my columns in @httweets and @ttindia,” he said. “Ever since I went to Bhagalpur after the 1989 riots, I have been implacably opposed to Hindutva & all its works. This opposition is spelt out in articles, books, tweets, speeches. As I said on 19th December, ‘I will continue to oppose Hindutva with every fiber in my being‘. The Modi-Shah regime is the most dangerous and divisive the Republic has known. They have promoted religious polarization and made minorities deeply insecure. They have intimidated the press and judiciary, and made all government departments an instrument of party politics.”

He also said: “I have been deeply inspired by the peaceful protests against the CAA across the country. The students especially have been wonderful; through them the pall of fear has broken. The struggle against the Modi-Shah regime must continue with resolution, courage, and non-violence.”

His thread also began a Twitter debate with senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, who defended Rahul Gandhi.

Tharoor said in response to Guha’s clarification: “Thanks for the clarification, Ram Guha. I'm sure you aren't elevating PM's capacity for hard work above its actual divisive consequences for the nation! Whatever you think about Rahul Gandhi, he embodies an alternative vision of India that many millions support in resisting BJP”.

In his response to Tharoor, Guha said while he agreed “about the divisive politics of the PM and his party and have documented the consequences in many recent articles”.

“Still working out what Rahul Gandhi’s “vision” for India is though,” he said in his response.

Tharoor responded to this jibe by saying the vision as an “inclusive India, honouring our diversity & pluralism, accepting of difference & committed to development with social justice”.

“That’s what Indian National Congress is about and what Rahul Gandhi embodies,” he said.

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