‘ Shashi Tharoor trying to beat Modi with the Patel stick !’

published on June 18, 2013

He’s back at the helm, with his carefully cultivated British accent and ‘bedroom eyes’ as one admirer put it. He reeks of class, but even Suhal Seth will not now cheer him on as having ‘class’ ! His opponent now is the son of a tea stall vendor, Narendra Modi himself, reportedly from the backward caste and certainly no match for our hero Shashi Tharoor, or so the latter believes.

Our hero has been resurrected from his former disgraces and is being fielded now against Narendara Modi. Forgotten are all his alleged crimes and misdemeanours, as reported by the press. He has achieved a new found respectability.

It is against this background one must also view his latest salvo against Narendra Modi at the NDTV program ‘Congress-BJP : battle for the Sardar legacy’ (June, 17, 2013). Ostensibly it was about Shri Modi’s laudable project of setting up an iron statue of Sardar Patel in Gujarat and our hero’s objection to Shri Modi wearing the Sardar’s mantle, something that the Gujarat Chief Minister had not even remotely considered. Being a Gujarati and being an admirer of Sardar Patel as one of the stars of the Freedom Movement, it was only natural that he should consider the project. Afterall, if our hero and his friends have no objection to the stature of Liberty in New York harbour, they should not object to one set up for an Indian national hero. And since the Congress Party had wilfully neglected Sardar Patel in favour of their own icons, Jawaharlal Nehru, his daughter Indira Gandhi and his grandson Rajiv Gandhi, it was only poetic justice that Sardar Patel now come to the forefront of the nation’s attention.

But that is not to be, it seems. Tharoor was simply seething with jealousy, covered by a nice cloak of sauve arguments as to how the Sardar (despite his diffences with Jawaharlal, so Tharoor allowed that !) was a unifier unlike Modi. Sardar Patel was being used by our hero as a political football, despite his avowed admiration for Patel.

He held forth about the Sardar’s actions in trying to save Muslims during the partition riots. And yes, predictably he contrasted Modi’s alleged misconduct during the Gujarat riots of 2002. Ofcourse, despite his sauve liberalism our hero had temporarily forgotten his own principles : a person is innocent until proven guilty.

There has been no indictment against Shri Modi vis a vis the riots and certainly no conviction. But at the NDTV Debate anchored by Barkha Dutt he was sure of Modi’s guilt and ended his speech with the theatrical announcement: sorry Modi cannot wear the mantle of the Sardar !

The reader must be reminded that our hero had been a Shakespearan style actor during his days at St. Stephen’s College (New Delhi). He had acted as the hero in Antony and Cleopatra.

And he is still acting. In this duel with Narendra Modi he has pulled out all the stops. But unfortunately for our hero all the world may be a stage (as the poet said) but here in India, with the public disenchanted with his Congress party’s corruption and misrule, a tea vendor’s son with an impeccable record of honesty and devotion to his country appears to be the more attractive choice.

Polls have shown that the public does not any longer buy the disinformation campaign waged relentlessly against Shri Narendra Modi by our hero’s party and those affiliated with it .

And once the public hears once again Shri Modi’s historic call on Doodarshan that fateful month of February 2002 to the people of Gujarat to maintain peace and not engage in vengeance or violence because of the Godhra tragedy, there will be even greater anger towards pretenders like Shashi Tharoor for disguisng the truth for petty political gain and personal vanity.

(The author is a Political Philosopher who taught at a Canadian university).

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