Tharoor`s stint dogged by controversies

Last Updated: Sunday, April 18, 2010 - 23:11

New Delhi: Shashi Tharoor`s stint of less
than a year as a Union Minister was dogged by a spate of
controversies from his stay in a five star hotel to the
high-voltage IPL row involving him and Sunanda Pushkar, whom
he reportedly intends to marry.

Criticised for his tweets on a host of issues,
including government policy matters, Tharoor often escaped
from any severe action both from the Congress party as well as
the government.

His tryst with controversies began with his stay at a
luxury hotel instead of the official accomodation which became
an embarrassment issue for the party that swore by `aam aadmi`
in the elections and had launched an austerity drive.

This resulted in senior Minister Pranab Mukherjee
asking him and his senior S M Krishna to vacate the luxury
hotel rooms for which they claimed they were paying from their
pocket.

Tharoor defended himself, saying that it was because
of the delay in getting his official residence ready. And he
also complained that there was no gym facility in the official
residence.

In the wake of restrictions on luxury class flying
due to the austerity drive, he courted another controversy
by his remarks on Twitter in which he described the economy
class as "cattle class".

This set off another round of criticism that he was
not following political discipline and party ethos.
However, this was subsequently resolved when the Prime
Minister Manmohan Singh treated it as a comment made in a
lighter vein. Tharoor met his party leadership and had to
offer them an explanation.

Before this could simmer down, yet another controversy
erupted when Tharoor said people should be working on Gandhi
Jayanti rather than staying at home thereby paying real homage
to Mahatma Gandhi.

Tharoor was in the news again for publicly criticising
the new visa guidelines adopted by the Government in the wake
of the gaps exposed by the arrest of 26/11 terror suspects,
David Headley and Tahawwur Rana.

For this, he was criticized for breaking ranks with
the official position of the Government. He was later called
by his senior Minister S M Krishna who asked him not to air
his views on government policies at a public forum.

In January 2010, Tharoor was also criticised for his
views, expressed at a public function, on Nehru for his vision
on Indian foreign policy.

Responding to the criticism, Tharoor issued a
clarification, apparently to mollify his own party as some
of its members were up in arms against him.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, April 18, 2010 - 23:11

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