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HindustanTimes Sat,19 Apr 2014

Tharoor-Sunanda story: Making and unmaking of a power couple

Jayanth Jacob, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, January 19, 2014
First Published: 00:17 IST(19/1/2014) | Last Updated: 14:01 IST(19/1/2014)

The story of the Tharoors as one could construct from accounts of close friends and confidants suggest that they did not have any more fights than an average couple would have, but the recent discovery of a serious ailments of Sunanda seemingly added strain to the relationship.

The couple have been battling a crisis since Sunanda was identified with systemic lupus erythematosus (a disease in which the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue) more than eight months ago.

While Shashi Tharoor had to step up activities on the accounts of forthcoming general elections, Sunanda could have become more insecure as emails between Shashi and Pakistani journalist Mehr Tarar suggest.

Read: Sunanda's death,  unatural, say docs; body cremated

“Sunanda had undergone treatment in France recently and after check-ups it was found that she had some serious health issues and Tharoor was a much worried man”, says TP Sreenivasan, a former career diplomat who knows Tharoor since 1980’s.

Read: Is Twitter to blame for Sunanda's death?

“His wife had some issues with him on personal front for sometime now.  But there was nothing to suggest that it was getting very  serious”, says another friend who also knew Sunanda, who Tharoor had first met at a party thrown by educationist Sunny Varkey.

Tharoor was indeed at pains over his wife’s illness as is suggested by his mails to Mehr Tarar in July.

“..Getting her (Sunanda) well and reducing stress on her is my major priority right now and I hope you will understand and forgive me if I stop our phone and email exchanges”, said a mail from Tharoor to Tarar.

Tharoor wore his heart on his sleeve and the dedication of his book — Pax Indica: India and the world of the 21st century —reads: “For Sunanda, the love of my life and the life of my love.”

Read: Wife’s death may hit Tharoor’s poll prospects

Now, Tharoor faces another crisis in his political career that began with a stunning debut from Thiruvanamthapuram Lok Sabha constituency in 2009, where he won by a huge margin. That was soon after his unsuccessful contest at being the secretary general of the United Nations.

Tharoor, being an atypical politician, is the only known leader in Kerala who openly bats for wider roads, which is a politically sensitive issue in a state with high population density. He also willingly inaugurates start-ups by youngsters and writes about them in his hugely followed twitter account.

The recent public spat and his wife’s death has mobilised his opponents who are gunning for him ahead of the LS polls.

Read: Uncertainties, losses took an emotional toll on Sunanda, says psychologists

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