Congress leader Shashi Tharoor Monday said his acceptance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's call to support the "Swachh Bharat Mission" did not mean he endorsed BJP's "core Hindutva" agenda.
"I am a proud Congressman and a proud Indian. In short, not pro-BJP, just pro-India," Tharoor, a former minister in the previous UPA government posted on Facebook.
"Being receptive to specific statements or actions of BJP leaders does not remotely imply acceptance of the party's core Hindutva agenda. The PM pitched his appeal as a non-political one and I received it in that spirit, " the Thiruvananthapuram MP said.
"I am astonished that anyone would suggest that I am pro-BJP. I have a 30-year paper trail of published writings on my idea of India and my profound belief in India's pluralism," he said.
Tharoor's clarification came in the background of television news reports that the Congress in Kerala was contemplating action against him for praising Modi.
Tharoor, who praised Modi on a couple of times earlier, had given a positive response to Modi's invitation to join the ambitious "Swachh Bharat" campaign but wanted it to be a sustained programme instead of "tokenism".
Responding to Modi's call, Tharoor had last week said he was honoured to accept the invitation to join the Clean India campaign.
Modi had challenged nine persons including Tharoor to join in the Swachh Bharat campaign on the lines of ALS Ice Bucket challenge.
While the inclusion of Tharoor among the persons mentioned by Modi came as a surprise to many, Congress party had downplayed it.
Meanwhile, former state president of the Youth Congress M Liju slammed Tharoor for taking a positive stand towards Modi's "Swachh Bharat" campaign and said he would take up the matter with the state and central leadership of the party.
"Tharoor should understand the politics of Modi. These kind of programmes are launched as a ruse to cover up the Hindutva agenda of BJP," Liju told PTI.
Liju, a KPCC executive member, said it was surprising that Tharoor had glossed over the "political gimmicks" of the BJP.