Congress MP Shashi Tharoor on Monday accused the media of distorting his words on the construction of the Ram Temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya.

During a conversation with Gopalkrishna Gandhi on the topic ‘India: Issues and Opportunities’ in Chennai on Sunday, Tharoor said while a vast majority of Hindus believes that Ayodhya was the birthplace of Lord Ram, no good Hindu would want to see a Ram temple built “by demolishing somebody else’s place of worship”.

Bharatiya Janata Party leaders criticised Tharoor for his comment. “Is he demanding removal of the makeshift temple where pooja is performed daily in the tent?” News 18 quoted party spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain as saying. “No one till now has made such a demand.”

Union minister Prakash Javadekar said he was astonished that Tharoor believes true Hindus do not want a Ram Temple in Ayodhya, reported ANI. “This could be a view of Tharoor or Rahul Gandhi, not of the ppl [people],” Javadekar said. “This shows how cut-off they are from reality and how they only become Hindu during elections.”

Tharoor clarified that he was asked for his personal opinion. “I am not a spokesperson for my party [and] did not claim to be speaking for [Congress],” he said. “I condemn the malicious distortion of my words by some media in the service of political masters.”