"My wife is priceless," an outraged union minister of state Shashi Tharoor said Tuesday as he took on Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi for his jibe about a "Rs.50 crore girlfriend".
"My wife is worth a lot more than your imaginary 50 crores. She is priceless. But you need2be able2love some1 2understand that," Tharoor said on the microblogging site Twitter.
Tharoor was backed by Congress leader R.P.N. Singh and Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader Brinda Karat.
"You can understand the type of people who point fingers and make derogatory remarks about women… Their speech speaks stronger than their act," R.P.N. Singh, minister of state for home, told reporters.
Karat lashed out at Modi for his "anti-woman ideology".
"Only a sick and perverted mind representing an anti-women RSS ideology will make such a statement. He is a blot on this country," Karat told IANS on phone from Himachal Pradesh.
Addressing an election rally in Mandi, Himachal Pradesh, Modi had Monday taken potshots at Tharoor’s personal life and said: "Wah kya girlfriend hai. Apne kabhi dekha hai 50 crore ka girlfriend?" (What a girlfriend? Have you ever seen a 50-crore girlfriend).
Modi did not take any names but his meaning was more than clear.
"There was a Congress leader who was a minister. He was accused of amassing wealth from cricket. He had said in parliament that he is not connected to the Rs.50 crore in the lady’s name," he had said.
"…And then girlfriend becomes wife, we learn some time later… the issues are still not settled and he (Tharoor) is now made a minister," Modi had added.
Tharoor, who had earlier got into trouble over a remark on "cattle class" on Twitter, found himself in another controversy over Twitter on just his second day in office as minister of state for human resource development.
Tharoor was involved in an IPL cricket controversy involving his then friend and now wife Sunanda Pushkar in 2010, which led to his resignation as minister of state for external affairs. (IANS)