Once again Dr. Shashi Tharoor, the honourable Minister of State for External Affairs and a member of the Indian Parliament from the Trivandrum constituency in Kerala, is in news for wrong reasons. He is also the ex-UN Under-Secretary General for Communications and Public Information. In 2006, he was India’s official candidate for an unsuccessful bid for the office of United Nations Secretary-General. He is also a well known author, columnist, journalist and human rights advocate. He is the first Indian celebrity to get 100,000 followers on Twitter. All these details are pretty impressive which shows that he is a man with great potential and he can reach great heights in Indian politics.
But the day since he occupied office, he has never missed a single opportunity to keep reporters and media persons working overtime to capture his news, tweets and retweets. Let’s see 5 controversies in last 9 months.
- In September 2009, Tharoor and his boss S M Krishna were accused of staying in luxurious 5-star hotels. However, he defended himself, saying that it was because of the delay in his official residence being ready and he only spent from his own pocket for the accommodation. Finally after the request of Pranab Mukherjee, the finance minister of India, Tharoor and Krishna moved out of the hotels.
- Next was his cattle class remark which created a huge web of discussions on internet and news channels. He described economy class as cattle class and the congress party as holy cow in of his tweets. The situation became so worst that the congress party leadership was going to take action against him. But the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh finally settled the matter and said that it was a joke.
- On Gandhi Jayanti he tweeted that the people should work rather staying at home and enjoying holiday and that would be the real homage to Mahatma Gandhi, the father of nation. Many of his opponents consider this as disrespect to Gandhiji.
- In January 2010, Tharoor criticized Gandhi and Nehru for their vision on Indian foreign policy. This angered his party, the Indian National Congress. However he blamed the media for this controversy and said “Irresponsible reporting may briefly gratify a few sensation-seekers in the media, but they do no credit to the need for informed discussion of foreign policy issues in our democracy. India deserves better. So, frankly, do I.”
- Interlocutor Controversy — In February 2010, alongwith Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, he visited Saudi Arabia where he said “We feel that Saudi Arabia has a long and close relationship with Pakistan that makes Saudi Arabia even more a valuable interlocutor for us. When we tell them about our experience, Saudi Arabia listens as somebody who is not in any way an enemy of Pakistan, but a friend of Pakistan and, therefore, will listen with sympathy and concern to a matter of this nature”. The remark about Saudi Arabia being a “valuable interlocutor” raised a strong reaction from opposition parties. The pakistani media even reported that the external affairs minister of India has proposed that Saudi Arabia play a mediator’s role in improving India’s relationship with Pakistan. Finally Tharoor tweeted “An interlocutor is someone you speak to. If I speak to you, you are my interlocutor. I mentioned the Saudis as our interlocutors, i.e. the people we are here to speak to”.
The latest IPL Controversy ::
Last week, IPL chief Lalit Modi published the shareholders details of Kochi-IPL team’s franchise owners, Rendezvous Sports World (RSW) group in his Twitter account. He also claimed that he was asked by an influential Union Minister to not get into details of Sunanda Pushkar who was given a free equity of approximately 18 per cent (worth approx Rs 70 crore) in RSW. Actually he was pointing to Shashi Tharoor. However, Tharoor denied having made any financial gains from the sale or having pressured Modi in any way. He further accused Modi of trying to delay and discredit the new owners so that the franchise can be re-awarded elsewhere. RSW protested Modi’s breach of confidentiality agreement. Sunanda Pushkar also issued a statement denying being a proxy for Tharoor.
Watch this Jay Hind’s episode on Shashi Tharoor ::