Tharoor: One year since

from telecom to i.t. to petroleum to aviation to railways to surface transport to industries to every ministry: this govt since 2004 has probably the richest and most corrupt ministers in india’s history.. just wish they’ll stop all this sanctimoniousness over small fry tharoor. sonia, manmohan and gang make me sick.” – Kufr (via facebook)

That said, Trivandrum voted for Shashi Tharoor as MP exactly a year ago, and it’s sad to see his humiliating exit from the ministry. Netizen’s or as Tharoor called “New India” rallied behind his candidature including a very healthy debate on this blog (Can Shashi Tharoor lose in Trivandrum?). Personally I would have preferred Modi losing out in the end (yeah I did my share of anti-Modi tweets), but now that it is all said and done, some sanity check on Tharoor would be a good idea.

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I wonder if there will be protests on the ground for Tharoor , or will it be limited to his 700K odd followers on Twitter. If Tharoor doesn’t evoke emotions on the ground, it could be because his priorities are slightly wrong and he is playing to the online crowd, or as the online crowd would put it, the offline crowd is “common man” or “illiterate”. I hope the offline people in Kerala are half as outraged as the angry politician hating online junta. I’m keeping my ears closer to ground, may be Tharoor should have.

Last year same time, many of us asked what Panyan (Ex-MP) did for Trivandrum, and reached a conclusion that he did nothing. I sincerely hope Tharoor has a long list on this front, or at least a small list of things he got done in the past one year for our city. At least this is the listย  of things Tharoor did and I heard of –

September 2009: Tharoor and SM Krishna were rapped for staying in 5-star hotels.

September 2009: โ€œCattle Classโ€ remark, Tharoor explains to party.

December 2009: Tharoor publicly criticised the new visa guidelines adopted by the government. (this was a low point, if I were PM he would have been OUT that day)

January 2010: Nehru-Gandhi remark pisses off INC.

February 2010: Saudi third party mediation controversy.

April 2010: IPL Waterloo.

“U folks are the new India”

It is more saddening to see that Tharoor is not exiting on his own, but being sacked around accusations of corruption. If he had resigned in protest against “the red tape”, or “allocation of funds to Kerala”, or even “ludicrous nature of Indian foreign policy” it would have been a worth while tenure. I do not understand when people say “tharoor is the new kinda politician”. I do understand that he never fit in, but that is not enough to claim that he is any different or any better. At this point in time Tharoor was sacked for,

1. Misusing his office and authority to influence a lucrative bidding process.

Also to note that Kochi IPL is a least priority agenda for people of Kerala. Like Thomas Issac said ‘I wish he had used his influence to get a fair allocation of rice from the center”. And I didn’t hear of Tharoor excessive interest in bringing IPL to Kerala till the controversy began.

2. Trying to make money through Sunanda Pushkar.

I would like to believe that Sunanda Pushkar’s consulting services for Kochi IPL is worth 70 crores. Then, I too eat rice, and am a cynic.

And how is Tharoor different from any politician? because he retweets?

Politicians from national parties holding governmental positions have always resigned in the face of graft allegations including, in recent memory – Advani, Madhav Rao, Madan Lal Khurana, and Arjun Singh (after Hawala scam). Tharoor for one, has been creating more distractions than needed for this government, and this time, the allegations call him a crook. Tharoor may not be a crook, but a person with no ground support, who played the online and mainstream media to create a niche for himself finally finding himself at the receiving end of media’s attention. And btw Rajdeep Sardesai and Times group – well played!

At the same time, if there is anyone out there who thinks these allegations are not serious or pure media creation, you are no different from the people who support Deve Gowda and Mayawati despite their tarred hands. And to argue that every politician is corrupt, or bring up names like Modi and Raja to counter an allegation is seriously middle class. Seriously guys, I like Tharoor, but our man messed up beyond normal. He had to go.

P.S: Other notable posts – Ajay and Anish are pissed.

P.P.S: In the mean time, prices have risen. Some people are protesting that in Delhi.

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16 Responses to Tharoor: One year since

  1. scorpiogenius April 18, 2010 at 7:57 pm #

    BVN, I’m kinda sad n surprised that you’ve mentioned that interlocutor thing here. Sure, someone like you definitely knows the difference between them two words. Same as the Nehru-Gandhi thingy… Wasn’t it a quote from someone else’s speech, if you look at the context?

    Now, Congress itself has allowed in-party democracy. Digvijay Singh is still here mate ๐Ÿ™‚ Now don’t tell me about Jaswanth Singh/ BJP/ Jinnah. May be you’re still very much inclined to the Marxist way of democracy where…(you know it). Times are gone when the head honchos spew out crap and the lower levels nod their head as if listening to lullabies. Every argument has two sides, and Tharoor was just mentioning the humane side of that law. A crime?

    Yes, I agree Tharoor screwed up this Sunanda thing. May be the thought the ‘confidentiality clause’ in the agreement protected him from suspicion but dude, if an LDF minister feels that Tharoor needed to bring rice to Kerala instead of IPL then isn’t it one to giggle at? This is like some people arguing that India should look towards its shantitowns instead of the moon.

    An investment of over 1500 crores is peanuts? I can understand where Thomas Issac is coming from. If he lauds Tharoor today, tomorrow he is OUT! The perception of politics, you win- I lose.

    Tharoor messed up, agree and let him go. Who knows, as you tweeted it may be for a cabinet berth next time around. Cheers and good night ๐Ÿ™‚ 0200hrs here… ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. bvn April 18, 2010 at 8:38 pm #

    @Scorpio, I am surprised that you are still awake ๐Ÿ™‚

    To be true, I was outraged when Tharoor mentioned the “interlocuter” thing. I wasn’t sure about the word meaning to be true. His clarification on that was nicely done including the crisp wording of the statement. Personally cattle class was also a statement that was quite innocuous. But think from Manmohan Singh’s side and this decision makes sense.

    I didnt get the “investment of 1500 crores” part. In Kerala? or for buying a team?
    I had tweeted Sainath’s take on how IPL makes states poorer and the owners richer. I stick to that. http://bit.ly/dwsASq

    But primarily where Tharoor fails is in the ‘Marxist’ form of party. He is an accomplished individual but he is Congress party’s MP. Like Pinarayi Vijayan said about V.S “sea water in a bucket does not create waves”. If Tharoor contested the election on his own, how many votes would he have got? So it is not an individual, but a party. When Tharoor functions in a way which is disconnected to the aspirations of his party’s base, where does he draw strength from? from his followers on Twitter?

    In his complete disregard of the so called “old school” of party politics, he has distanced himself from people who worked for decades building a party on the ground. Posters, and murals during elections dont appear on their own, there is a party worker who toils all through the night to bring the fight on because he hates the CPM.

    You and I can giggle at bringing Rice allocation to Kerala (instead of the IPL), but the party worker who makes 3-4 K a month lives on “ration ari”, and when the public distribution is screwed by Pawar and co, he expects his own MP to do something about that. And he may not look up the subtle semantics of “Cattle class” or “interlocutor”, but just feel pissed at his American MP.

    Tharoor is a player. I’m sure he will make a lot of money. But at least he is a misfit. Until twitter becomes a constituency.

    And I think you should sleep now.

  3. bombaydosti April 19, 2010 at 12:59 am #

    Brahma, awesome post! Its this balance that we need. Its even wonderful, that this same blog saw the debate on Tharoor as well. “At the same time, if there is anyone out there who thinks these allegations are not serious or pure media creation, you are no different from the people who support Deve Gowda and Mayawati despite their tarred hands. And to argue that every politician is corrupt, or bring up names like Modi and Raja to counter an allegation is seriously middle class. ” I really cant say it better, than this!
    Because you wrote it, some of your friends might listen ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. Dhanush Gopinath April 19, 2010 at 1:12 am #

    Completely agree with you on this post. I too believe Tharoor had messed it up totally this time. I also believed that Tharoor was too early for a Minister’s post. He should have atleast worked in the local politics scenario and atleast earned some respect among the local party worker who might have worked day in and out for him to see him succeed. He, I believe, has really disappointed the those guys.

    Issac’s reaction was nothing but to gain some political mileage out of it. That everyone knows.

    P.S:- I liked your comment about the twitter constituency.

  5. scorpiogenius April 19, 2010 at 3:01 am #

    BVN, Good morning! ๐Ÿ™‚

    I was wrong about Tharoor on one single count and perhaps I’m shocked about that one as well more than this unceremonious exit. Its a new day and now the news is behind us all. I’m not trying to justify his act but still feel we need people like him in our politics. Just that he desperately need to learn ‘political correctness’ and ways of Indian politics more than anything…

    I went through the newslink, now the ‘states becoming poor’ has all to do with the states themselves, and the Center. IPL should come under the I-T bracket, I think its just a matter of time after all this fiasco.

    Anyway, you’ve written beautifully man. I think your Bombay dosth said it right. Really hope Twitter turns into a constituency sometime soon ๐Ÿ˜†

  6. Naga April 19, 2010 at 5:39 am #

    A week, they say, is too long in politics. Phew! Tharoor held on for a year!

    Cheers,
    Naga.

  7. Naga April 19, 2010 at 7:04 am #

    And Brahma, btw, its dangerous travelling on two boats!

    Cheers,
    Naga.

  8. ambili April 19, 2010 at 9:30 am #

    Brahma,

    Like the way u write .. ๐Ÿ™‚

    well, my first reaction was to be aghast @ his exit! Then, i realized that he had to go..According to me, the biggest blunder he made was not even the IPL or all the other controversies.. he should not have told bharka dutt in her interview with him that he would not resign.. that would have seemed as arrogance! thats not the way our polity work..is it? I mean..whether u r guilty or not, u must first offer to resign..then, the INC could have taken it forward and put some useless commission to review and he could have gotten bck.. but, this was suicidal! From PC to Omar , vryone offers to quit! And if u r a politician, vryone does gets acquitted .. look @ our own pinnarayi ๐Ÿ˜€

    end of the day, as a trivandrumite, should i be happy or sad?? I guess his being sacked from office- does give him time to work on constituency..honestly, i m sick o him telling in almost of vry other interview that it is difficult for him to do the 2 jobs- of being a mp and of being a minister..atleast, now he is relieved of that pain ..

    oh..even though agree with u on a certain extend on tharror..i detest that outlook article on sunanada pushkar…
    what is it trying to say? that she slept her way thru to be what she is now?? well, i dont know her and i dont care what she does ..but, this was the worst form of sexist article..”Dubai flash trash of peroxide hair streaks, heavy make-up, razzle-dazzle, seductive couture, false eyelashes, chrome nail paint, and Louis Vuitton victimhood” who the hell cares if she wears false eye lashes or chrome nail paint.. how is it imp for the reader wrt her getting the “sweat equity” in ipl..so, if she was a plain jane- she has the rgt for the “sweat equity”? And it is even more depressing that it s been written by a female..yucks!

    oh! and the other thing i wanted to comment was on ur take on the cong party worker getting 3-4k and depending on ration ari.. again, i cant say that i have met many o cong workers..but yes, quiet a few in my local area bck home when they come to collect money during all local elections .. they definitely were not depending on “ration ari” for their food ๐Ÿ™‚ common, they belong to the INC after all ๐Ÿ˜€
    but yes, i get ur pt of Tharoor losing focus..

    all in all, well written ๐Ÿ˜€

    P.S: i like the way preethi keeps insisting on balanced view

    P.P.S: I also liked the other blog abt the “searches” to ur blog..esp, the neyattinkara bit..:-D

  9. bombaydosti April 19, 2010 at 12:29 pm #

    brahma, i agree with ambili about that article. I was feeling a little uncomfortable about the tone of the article but was not able to articulate it exactly. Ambili, you are right – YUCK is the word!
    take it out, man – its so sexist!

  10. bvn April 19, 2010 at 12:48 pm #

    No.

  11. bombaydosti April 20, 2010 at 1:19 am #

    ya, you studied in CET right? its not your fault

  12. Happy Kitten April 20, 2010 at 3:42 am #

    First time here…

    “Seriously guys, I like Tharoor, but our man messed up beyond normal. He had to go.”

    nd you have summed up the whole Tharoor Episode pretty well…

  13. clash April 20, 2010 at 6:26 am #

    Nothing more could be expected from Congress, they dug their own grave when it came to Tharoor. A political party largely devoid of any ideological backbone, Congress is more or less a platform for various individuals at various capacities to exercise their convictions. Isn’t it true when it comes to Manmohan Singh who had his stint with IMF/worldbank sorts, chidu chettiyar with his dubious affiliations with Enron/Vedanta. Oh yes, there is a space for a leader like V.M.Sudheeran too in congress.

    Typical of congress to offer a platform for a largely media savvy/ideologically hollow tharoor, while comfortably forgetting local netas who to some extent has made realistic contributions to the party. Now they are reaping rewards for their actions, when his immaturity as a minister is backfiring and a lot of shit stirring is accompanying it.

    Thankfully tharoor has manged to raise larger questions about this kind of “cricket investment” that is happening across the country under the garb of IPL. Questions of match fixing and unscrupulous money is all over the media now. I thank him for that, at least all the dirty secrets of the farce that is IPL is coming out.

    It is quite sad to see that there is no cerebral discerning over the kind of investments that flow in to our nation. Well, all that one cares is that it is 1500 crores. That is quite sad and concerning.

    All in all, i am happy that the IPL bandwagon from kerala is stuttering already. The football loyalist in me is not helping either.

  14. bvn April 20, 2010 at 11:44 am #

    @Dhanush, Hindu has a piece on exactly your point. Perils of political paratrooping http://bit.ly/dsRG6S

    @Scorpio, yeah, and like many other politicians in a similar fix, the one way he can absolve himself is by some good work in his constituency.

  15. Joshua April 23, 2010 at 7:43 am #

    I think you’re article is biased simple because you’ve tried to adopt a moral standpoint that most people don’t even bother to adhere to you. Here is what I think are Tharoor’s possible faults

    1. Ignoring TVM because he was too busy – He didn’t ignore TVM. I think he was finding a balance between time for the ministry and time for the constituency, with a major part of his time being spent trying to find his way out of needless controversies.Try this, I still know what Tharoor did for TVM ( not everything ), but I have no idea what Pannian Raveendran or anyone else did for TVM. Now don’t tell me I don’t know anything about Trivandrum

    2. IPL Fiasco – No one really knows the truth here. But Tharoor has been made the fall guy for sure. I believe he isn’t corrupt and we’ve just crucified someone with by being judgement all of a sudden. The only real argument is whether Shashi abused his position to get a higher equity stake for Sunanda. Thats it.

    3. Tharoor loves the limelight – Yes he does. Theres no doubt about it. But who doesn’t ? Or is it that when we want him to play dirty, we want him to do in secret ? C’mon, we talk about transparency on one hand and talk about being talking discreetly and ‘wisely’ on the other hand.

    If Tharoor needs to be patient with handling the media, we need to be patient with Tharoor too. Its been one year and it can only get better for Tharoor and TVM. Lets not getting into a character assassination. I can’t believe some people are talking about him being “vain”,”too smart”… These are obvious faults seen in all men. He just needs to do his job. Period. Lets leave it to the priests and God to decide if he needs to confess.

    And for all the ideology talk, don’t tell me any marxist ideology is going to rescue Kerala. We’ve had enough of that !

  16. scared scarecrow May 13, 2010 at 3:20 am #

    Even if twitter becomes a constituency, Tharoor’s chances look grim. He got over 7.75 lakh followers on twitter, and the much publicised supporttharoor.org got about 21,000 people pledging support. Interesting!

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