New Delhi: Sidestepping party leader Shashi Tharoor's remark, the Congress on Monday said there was only one Shaheed Bhagat Singh and he was irreplaceable.
"I don't know what Tharoor said but no one can replace Bhagat Singh, especially the boys of this generation. Only one Bhagat Singh can be born in this country, and he is irreplaceable," leader of the opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad told reporters here.
Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Janata Party criticised former union minister Tharoor who on Sunday drew a parallel between the freedom fighter and Jawaharlal Nehru University student leader Kanhaiya Kumar.
"If Kanhaiya is Bhagat Singh, what are Sonia and Rahul Gandhi?" BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain said, adding "the way the Congress is making anti-national slogans, even Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru will be upset".
BJP MP and Bollywood actor Paresh Rawal tweeted: “At the cost of repeating myself, I must say @shashiTharoor IQ is lower than his shoe size!”
Following a furore over his comment, Tharoor clarified that what he meant was the two men had certain qualities in common, "a fact which the BJP will never understand".
"Those who have read Bhagat Singh's writings will know exactly what I am talking about. Bhagat Singh would never have supported the BJP because he was a committed atheist and a fan of (Russian communist revolutionary Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov) Lenin. So, I don't think the BJP should have many ideas about Bhagat Singh. Perhaps they got them from Bollywood movies!" Tharoor told reporters.
Tharoor asserted that the situations were completely different for both the martyr and Kanhaiya Kumar, and the only parallel between the two was that they were young men in their 20s with Marxist ideals and passionate commitment to their respective countries.
"When I said that Bhagat Singh was a Kanhaiya Kumar of his time, I meant he was a young man in his 20s with Marxist ideas and beliefs, who had a great passion for his country. Kanhaiya has those same qualities. That's all; there is nothing more to that," the Congress leader said.
"Obviously, their circumstances were different. Bhagat Singh was fighting the colonial rule and foreign oppression whereas Kanhaiya is fighting for his beliefs in a very different democracy," he added.
Tharoor made the comments regarding Bhagat Singh and Kanhaiya Kumar while giving a lecture on 'JNU and Nationalism' outside the JNU administrative hall.