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Will Tharoor survive Kerala’s charged politics?
Kochi/New Delhi, Apr 25 (IANS):
Published on 25 Apr. 2010 11:06 PM IST
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Will Shashi Tharoor be able to survive in Kerala\’s highly-charged political atmosphere being the self-confessed novice that he is? While the common people in Kerala are very enthusiastic about the suave former UN diplomat\’s return to state politics and see him as a sign of welcome change, politicians are not too happy.
The rousing welcome given to Tharoor, who quit the government last week over the IPL Kochi row, in Thiruvananthapuram Saturday is perhaps an indication of the popularity the author-politician enjoys in his state and elsewhere too - thanks to his tweeting ways and his international appeal.
In a twitter post on Friday, Tharoor had said that after quitting as junior minister of external affairs he was now looking forward to going back to his Thiruvananthapuram constituency and working there. “It’s been a rough week but am looking forward to returning to Thiruvananthapuram. Lots of work needs to be done in the constituency.”
His aide, Jacob Joseph Puthenparambil, said Tharoor would now involve himself in active politics.
“He will be there in the active politics. We have launched a lot of developmental initiative in the constituency. A lot of work has to be done, like pushing the Vizhinjam port project. Yesterday (Saturday), he was invited to attend the UDF (United Democratic Front) meeting. It was wonderful,” Puthenparambil told IANS.
Tharoor’s supporters find him as a breath of fresh air in Kerala’s musty political scene, ruled by the Communists with an old-fashioned V.S. Achuthanandan at the helm.
“Tharoor is sincerely trying to bring some positive changes in our society. His efforts to ‘twinning’ of Thiruvananthapuram and Spain’s Barcelona city has been widely noticed. No wonder, he is projected as the future chief minister of the state,” said Stany Thomas, a political science professor.
Tharoor was welcomed at Thiruvananthapuram airport by hundreds of his supporters holding placards and raising slogans. However, no senior state Congress leader was present at the airport to welcome him.
Tharoor had to step down after the opposition alleged he had misused office to help his close friend Sunanda Pushkar get Rs.70 crore sweat equity in the IPL Kochi franchise. He had said in parliament that he had done nothing wrong and whatever role he played in the Kochi franchise bidding was for Kerala.
“Who is Tharoor to argue for Kerala? Is he a politician, or only a celebrity? This is not Europe or America. This is Kerala,” a Congress MP told IANS, on condition of anonimity, after his resignation.
After quitting, Tharoor plunged into state politics. He joined a delegation of Kerala Congress MPs to meet Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh seeking changes in the Right to Education Act. They want that the new bill should ensure that schools run by Hindu community groups like Nairs and the Eazhavas should also be included in it.
According to Stany Thomas, a political science professor at St. Thomas College, Pala, “Tharoor has started learning the basic lessons of local politics.”
“He actively joined the Congress MPs to create a positive impression among his own community and its leaders. These people had mocked at him last year calling him a ‘Delhi Nair’,” said Thomas.
Tony. P. Emmanuel, a post graduate, said the people of Kerala don’t believe that Tharoor was involved in any corruption in the IPL deal.
“We all know that his only intention was to get the state its own IPL team. He is a wealthy man and is not involved in any kind of corruption,” Tony said.
Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) MP M.B. Rajesh, airing the views of his party: told IANS: “Events like the IPL are not a tool to measure the real development that Kerala needs. The state needs educational and infrastructural development. Tharoor as a minister did nothing in this direction. His efforts to bring IPL to Kerala shows that he represents corporate politics.”
Rajesh added that Tharoor had boasted before the general elections last year that he would transform Thiruvananthapuram into London, but had done nothing so far.
“After he became minister, he did not pay much attention to Thiruvananthapuram. Now, after losing his job, he wants the support of the people,” Rajesh said.
However, Tharoor has refuted allegations that he neglected his constituency.
To a query from a fan on twitter Saturday that he had never heard Tharoor discuss his constituency before in his tweets, Tharoor said: “Go back and read my tweets! Have reported frequently from Thiruvananthapuram on every visit.”

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