There was more than a prima facie case against the swashbuckling Minister and his current consort, who was given a freebie of Rs.70 crore for the IPL Kochi franchise rights. But, as it happens, its this seamless and fancy-free approach of the Congress that gives room to some disturbing speculation.
Is Congress overkeen to stop the damage from reaching weightier doors? Is Shashi Tharoor eventually a fall guy, just as Natwar Singh was seen in the Volcker controversy.
Well, maybe or may not be. But the resignation and Sunanda Pushkar’s reported offer to give back her ‘sweat equity’ to the consortium do not undo the essential damage. The whole resignation episode itself may be right, but for all the wrong reasons.
Anyway, the resignation should just be the beginning to unearth the murky, underhand dealings that doubtless have been part of the in-house shenanigans of the IPL.
In a sense, it was also easy for the Congress to axe Tharoor, as he has had a chequered career with controversies dogging him at every turn. Tharoor first got into trouble for staying in a luxury hotel when the government had launched an austerity drive.
Then, the minister alleged that he was paying for his stay from his own pocket and moreover, his official residence was not ready (It turned out that a Dubai-based firm might have been footing that bill).
Soon after, during the government’s much-publicized austerity drive, Tharoor referred to economy class fliers as ‘cattle class’, which sparked a new wave of protests from the Opposition. The matter finally ended when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said Tharoor made that comment in a lighter vein.
More controversies came his way when the minister publicly criticized India’s new visa guidelines. Union Minister of External Affairs then asked him not to express his view on the government’s policies on public forums. In January, Tharoor created a furore again by expressing his views on Nehru’s Indian foreign policy at a public meeting. However, it was the IPL controversy that left the government with no choice but to show him the door.
The fall of Shashi Tharoor can be a sad parable of times. The man who lived by tweets, alas also fell by it. His momentous exit from the centrestage amidst pointed evidence of nepotism and corruption also establishes that image is not everything in life.
His strident bleating that he had never indulged in corruption now looks pathetic and perverted. But Tharoor, with his shady ways, has done a signal disservice to all those who had been clamouring for his kind of politician: modern, suave, comfortable with the mores of the times and accessible.
Shashi was all this, but he seemed to have been a two-timing politician first. Tharoor, unless he shows some rare grit and gumption, can take his political career (as we know it) as finished. He did not have a previous political role before contesting the election and that puts him in a tight spot for two reasons.
Firstly If he has to continue working his way in politics he has to do so with the grassroute level political engine, it might be a tough thing for him for his supporters are not really other political aspirers.Moreover unlike other politicians he will be forced to take this defeat very personally as his personal life has been pulled into the controversy and he has absolutely no support from his political peers.
If the controversy remains unsolved that will also leave a taint on his years of diplomatic efforts across the world. Being a representative to the world from the largest democracy all his life, this classic tale of democratic entertainment will require him to explain his turf everywhere he goes on from here.
But now that Congress has acted, the issue can be expected to gain momentum and the heat will be on the controversial and oily Lalit K Modi, the IPL Commissioner. His closet will be wrung open and all the skeletons will be laid bare shortly. Just as well, as he was getting too big for how comfort. IPL, may be his brain child, but that doesn’t entitle him to lay his own rules. More drama and more muck is set to fly around. So Twitter will be more active, of course that may be sans Shashi.