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Pallavi Ghosh
Wednesday, April 21, 2010 at 21 : 50

Finally, a Congress MP


A minister close to 10 Janpath told me: "Being a Congressman is all about sweat and no equity". Shashi Tharoor must have realised this, after losing his job. Tharoor is well travelled, moves in high profile and well-connected circles, is articulate and world wise. Unfortunately, he wasn't wise about the ways of the Congress party.

To become a Congressi, you have to take a silent, unwritten pledge: "I cease to become an individual with a mind of my own."

Only that Congress leader ticks who speaks less, makes time to go to Congress headquarters, has tea with the old guards of the party.

Tharoor was none of the above. He was seldom seen at 24 Akbar Road, the party headquarters. The only time he turned was just after the cattle class controversy. Sources say he was given a lesson in the art of speaking as a Congress leader. This, ironically, to a man who even his critics concede is a very good speaker.

The next criticism of Tharoor was that he was not enough of a Keraliite. He was seen as a rank outsider, who descended on Thiruvananthapuram , with the blessings of the high command. He didn't find time for fellow Kerala MPs. One remembers during get together of MPs and leaders from the state Tharoor was seldom seen. So, when he lost his job, there was no tear shed in his home state. one Kerala congress leader said that " had Tharoor called us up and told us to help him out, things would have been different". Sources say that when Pranab Mukherjee confronted Shashi Tharoor with facts, he is also believed to have told him that no one from his state was willing to support him. Ironically, it tool one Mallu, AK Antony, to tell the not-so-Mallu Tharoor that he was isolated and had to leave.

So, why is Tharoor finally a Congress MP now? Just go over his speech on 20th inside the Lok Sabha. He spoke the right words. He spoke like a Congressi, paying rich tributes to PM and Sonia. He spoke about his love for Kerala. He in fact spoke in Malayalam. He has begun the rounds of Pranab Mukherjee's room. He has sought appointments with senior Congress leaders.

Tharoor has learnt to live with the life of a Congressman. It isn't easy being a Congress leader. Not even in Rahul's Congress with a vision. One has to learn to be quiet even when one feels like speaking. One has to gulp pride and wait for his turn to be spoken to. And one has to humor the party. The witty Tharoor has learnt this the hard way


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More about Pallavi Ghosh

Pallavi Ghosh is IBN7's Political Editor and has been covering the Congress and the Government for over a decade. She was the first to interview Rahul Gandhi when he joined politics in 2004 and has been following him closely since then. She was also among the first to interview to Sonia Gandhi after the Women's Reservation Bill was passed in the Rajya Sabha. She has covered 3 General Elections and gets very excited with any political development. She’s doing a PhD in International Relations and has worked for the BBC, The Telegraph, NDTV and Aaj Tak in her 12-year career.