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Caught amid a Twitter backlash over his birthday wishes for BJP stalwart Lal Krishna Advani, senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Thursday hit out at critics asking if “civility has disappeared entirely in political discourse”.

Tharoor’s reaction comes three days after he tweeted a birthday greeting for Advani on the latter’s birthday. He said he is “appalled” at what he called a “vicious backlash” over his tweet and said he would “continue to wish LK Advani and Narendra Modi”, his political opponents, on their birthdays.

In the first among a series of tweets, Tharoor wrote, “I am frankly appalled by the vicious backlash against my birthday greetings to LK Advaniji. Has civility disappeared entirely from our political discourse? Gandhiji taught us to respect and honour the humanity in our political opponents. It seems that now makes me a Sanghi sympathizer! (SIC)”.

Saying that he “deplores intolerance on either side”, Tharoor referred to Mahatma Gandhi’s “ahimsa”.

He said, “In fact Gandhiji taught us to fight the sin but love(&embrace)the sinner. Ahimsa is“a positive state of love, of doing good even to the evildoer. While good & evil are Gandhian terms I can’t easily use (most human beings are shades of both),I deplore intolerance on either side. (SIC)”

“So yes, I intend to continue to wish LK Advani & @narendramodi well on their birthdays, while opposing what they stand for politically. My 40 years of writing makes clear what I believe in. Only those who haven’t read me would call me a Sanghi. My values won’t be discarded 4them (SIC),” he added.

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