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Tharoor to stay put in politics

Shashi Tharoor, who on Sunday resigned as Minister of State for External Affairs in the wake of the IPL controversy, is not going to call its quits as far as politics is concerned.

india Updated: Apr 19, 2010 23:51 IST
Aurangzeb Naqshbandi

Shashi Tharoor, who on Sunday resigned as Minister of State for External Affairs in the wake of the IPL controversy, is not going to call its quits as far as politics is concerned.

Congress sources said Tharoor has not been declared “untouchable” and his resignation has more to do with overcoming the “perception problem” at the moment.

Tharoor will make a statement in Parliament on Tuesday on why he resigned. As per the rules, a minister who resigns from the Union Council of Ministry has the right to make a statement in Parliament, citing reasons for his resignation.

Recently, Jagdish Tytler had used this opportunity but, on the other hand, Natwar Singh did not when he resigned from the Union cabinet.

Tharoor, 54, will plough on and devote more time to nurturing his constituency Thiruvananthapuram and wait for a good time to seek a second chance in the government.

Sources close to the beleaguered diplomat-turned-politician say his ministerial responsibility deprived him of the time to properly nurture the Kerala Congress system and now he has got the opportunity to do so. The Congress would also give him a chance to strengthen his foothold and work for the party in the Left-ruled state.

But rehabilitation, the Congress sources said, would come only after a “cooling off period” to enable Tharoor, a former under secretary at the United Nations, to learn from “past mistakes and acclimatise” to Indian politics.

But that is not going to be easy for this compulsive tweeter, for he would have to be off twitter and direct all his energy in galvanising the party cadre in Kerala. That Tharoor is capable of doing it became evident when he registered a thumping victory over his CPI rival P. Ramachandran Nair in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections he contested after spending three decades with the UN.

The Congress is giving Tharoor another chance to explain his role in the IPL controversy in Parliament. The opposition did not allow him to read his statement in the Lok Sabha on Friday, forcing him to lay it on the table of the House.
“In all fairness, he should get an opportunity to present his side of the story,” the sources said.

And if the party allows him to utilise this opportunity, the statement is going to be vetted by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee. Tharoor attended Parliament — albeit briefly — on Monday and met Mukherjee in his room during which Defence Minister AK Antony and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal were also present.