I really don’t believe in too many conspiracy theories. This entire idea that various systems might be conspiring to get an individual out seems kind of far fetched.
But, in the recent past I have been questioning why the Indian Express has taken it upon it self to target Shashi Tharoor – the minister for external affairs ? Has Mr.Tharoor offended someone in the IE or is the IE working on someone else’s behalf to discredit Mr. Tharoor – because front page attention on, what can be most charitably described as trivialities, seems like an orchestrated witch hunt .
It started with the IE “exposing” the fact that Tharoor and his boss, SM Krishna, were staying in 5 star luxury.
Austere Ministers: Krishna at Maurya, Tharoor at Taj - screamed the headline, and when you read the article closely it tuns out that it was two rich ministers paying for their own comforts.
For over three months now, External Affairs Minister S M Krishna is at ITC’s Maurya on Sardar Patel Marg and his junior Shashi Tharoor at Hotel Taj Mahal on Man Singh Road. Both pay their own bills but neither of them — nor the hotels — say how much they have paid so far.
According to their poll affidavits, Krishna has assets worth Rs 18 crore and Tharoor Rs 15 crore.
Why is someone spending their own money is news is beyond me – if it was Tax payer’s money I would understand – but their own money seemed kind of inexplicable.
It followed up the story the next day, with Tharoor needs Taj for gym, privacy — and a govt-funded Iftaar today
The “gym and some privacy” keep Shashi Tharoor at a suite in the Taj Mahal Hotel in New Delhi. On Wednesday, the Minister of State for External Affairs is hosting an Iftaar party from 6.15 pm at the Diwan-i-Aam of the hotel.
Invites have been sent out by the Ministry — the cards carry the national emblem, mention the MEA’s Protocol division and list its telephone numbers under RSVP.
tucked in at the end, is the line
“It has been a tradition to host an Iftaar party for envoys of the Gulf countries by the MoS in-charge during Ramzan, said sources. “
So the iftaar party is not for friends and family, but for envoys of countries that India has trade and commercial relations ! Official work, not personal.
Then, the following day was an item, that could be seen as further embarrassing External Affairs Ministers - Krishna, Shashi take note: How nine of your colleagues live
While External Affairs Minister S M Krishna and his deputy Shashi Tharoor turned 5-star hotel suites into temporary homes, their nine colleagues, still waiting for official accommodation, settled for single rooms in state Bhawans and PSU guest houses in New Delhi
And then, was yesterday’s bit of pontificating
At these moments, affluence becomes unaesthetic. A display of an affluent lifestyle seems crass and indifferent, possessing a nouveau riche loudness that is difficult to take. It is a behaviour that demands immediate downsizing in a literal and symbolic sense. But Krishna and his deputy behaved like rich Rip Van Winkles, unaware that drought and recession had struck the land. It was a sense of arrogance and individualism that made them indifferent to the dialects of protest and pain in the bazaar of politics.
People should realize, that in times of recession, consumption helps. Instead of vilifying the ministers for spending their own money – maybe you should commend them for doing their patriotic duty to get the nation out of recession
And then, it pretty much continues in the same vein. What took the cake was this morning’s front page silliness in the Indian Express
Of course, Mr. Tharoor has not helped his cause by being smart on Twitter with Kanchan Gupta – Shooting your mouth off to journalists, on a public forum, – especially those with BJP affiliation -reeks of poor decision making. That ‘holy cow’ statement is possibly going to come back to haunt him.
But, that doesn’t take away from the fact that the IE seems to have their knives out for him. Today’s story, the one that prompted this post – is “Holy Cow! Tharoor’s OSD gives it back to his Boss’s party” – one more ‘Get Tharoor” story .
Jacob Joseph, Officer on Special Duty to the Minister of State for External Affairs, posted a picture of Tharoor asleep in an aircraft seat, with the caption “Shashi Tharoor in cattle class a month ago”.
Tharoor, currently on tour abroad, did not post any new tweets on Thursday. He last tweeted early September 16.
Jacob made public, or ‘re-tweeted’ (referred to as ‘RT’ on Twitter), comments made by other Twitter users that referred to Union ministers as “humorless twits”, and Congress spokesperson Natarajan as an example of the “outdated Indian political spokesman”.
incidentally, the minister did tweet yesterday:
So, let me ask the obvious – is the Indian Express reverting to the shoot first, figure later mode of journalism that almost brought it to its knees. Or is this a one off hatchet job on a particular minister – if so why ?