The Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the Bharatiya Janata Party on Saturday criticised Congress MP Shashi Tharoor for a tweet about a visit to a fish market, in which he referred to himself as “squeamish” The Indian Express reported. On Wednesday, Tharoor had tweeted photos of the visit, adding, “Found a lot of enthusiasm at the fish market even for a squeamishly vegetarian MP.”

Bharatiya Janata Party leader Kummanam Rajasekharan objected to his use of the word “squeamish” and said it insults fisherfolk. Rajasekharan recently resigned as the Mizoram governor and has been fielded by the BJP against Tharoor in Thiruvananthapuram constituency.

“Tharoor has found that fishermen and fish are disgusting,” the BJP lawmaker said. “Thousands of fishermen in Thiruvananthapuram are living in nauseating circumstances – they are living in such a situation due to Tharoor’s failure, as he could do little for them. Tharoor should say whether the votes of fishermen are also causing him nausea.”

The CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front also rebuked Tharoor for his tweet. “A civilised society cannot accept this undemocratic approach,” a statement said.

“There should be a strong protest against Tharoor for having insulted fishermen,” LDF’s election committee chairman M Vijayakumar said. Fishermen organised marches in Kochi, Kollam and Kozhikode to protest the tweet, PTI reported.

Tharoor later took a jibe at his critics by sharing the meaning of the word “squeamish”. “For those Malayali leftist politicians who are currently having difficulty understanding my English,” Tharoor said, adding a screenshot of an English-Malayalam dictionary entry.

He told reporters: “My words have been twisted to create misunderstanding.”