OK, so let's go with the conspiracy theorists. Why is it that the knives are suddenly out for Mr Tharoor? When Mr Jaswant Singh was sacked from the BJP, one knew it was not merely for his views on Jinnah, but the fact that he had pissed off a lot of Very Important Egos.
Later when Mr Jaswant Singh's book was banned by the Gujarat government, Mr Tharoor had tweeted:
- Shocked by Gujarat ban on Jaswant bk. Freedom of expression is a constitutional right: how can it be denied to citizens in one part of Ind?
- But then some parties have a higher tolerance for heresies. Congress is a big tent, with greater room for different points of view7:11 PM Aug 19th from TwitterBerry
As is the best part about such exchanges, he was immediately questioned:
- @ShashiTharoor thats not true shashi,if a congressman wrote a book critical of nehru, would he survive? intolerance exists in all parties
To which Mr Tharoor replied:
- i've written 4 bks that do precisely that: India Frm Midnght2Millennium, Reasons of State, Grt Indn Nvl & Nehru:Invn of Ind10:48 PM Aug 19th from web
This comparison between the BJP and Congress was picked by the press as well, for example, take this article in the Hindu that pointed out some of the stuff that Mr Tharoor has indeed said about, well, the holiest of the holy cows in the Congress party:
On Indira Gandhi:
"Had Indira’s Parsi husband been a toddywalla (liquor trader) rather than so conveniently a Gandhi, I sometime wonder, might India’s political history have been different?"
“Mrs. Gandhi was skilled at the acquisition and maintenance of power, but hopeless at the wielding of it for larger purposes. She had no real vision or program beyond the expedient campaign slogans; “remove poverty” was a mantra without a method ?. Declaring a state of Emergency, Indira arrested opponents, censored the press, and postponed elections. As a compliant Supreme Court overturned her conviction, she proclaimed a ‘20-point programme’ for the uplift of the common man (No one found it humorous enough to remark, as Clemenceau had done of Wilson’s Fourteen Points, that “even the good Lord only had ten.”) Its provisions ? remained largely unimplemented. Meanwhile her thuggish younger son, Sanjay (1946-1980) emphasizing two of the 20 points, ordered brutally insensitive campaigns of slum demolitions and forced sterilizations.”
On Rajiv Gandhi:
[Instead of the] “visionless expediency that had been his mother’s only credo, Rajiv offered transparent sincerity and conviction ... the rot set in -- Compromise followed sellout as New Delhi returned to business as usual. Charges of corruption in a major howitzer contract with the Swedish arms manufacturer Bofors tarnished the mystique of the dynasty; little children sang, Galli-galli mein shor hai/Rajiv Gandhi chor hai: ‘Hear it said in every nook/Rajiv Gandhi is a crook.’?”
On Sonia Gandhi:
[ pointing out that she went to Cambridge to study English, not political philosophy]:
“A builder’s daughter from Turino, without a college degree, with no experience of Indian life beyond the rarefied realms of the Prime Minister’s residence, fiercely protective of her privacy, so reserved and unsmiling in public that she has been unkindly dubbed ‘the Turin Shroud’ leading a billion Indians at the head of the world’s most complex, rambunctious and violent democracy? This situation, improbable if weren’t true, is proof again of the enduring appeal of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty.”
On Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Vadra:
“And then there is, after all, in true dynastic tradition, the need to think of the aspirations of the next generation ... Their [Rahul and Priyanka] father’s seat must, observers suggest, be kept warm for one of them — and who better to nurse the Amethi constituency he so successfully nurtured than Sonia herself?”
That was August 22. The marching orders from the hotel were given on September 8. (Interestingly enough, till July 8, Mr Tharoor was being praised by some for his, well, austere ways -- as commended by this blog itself) The latest tweet, literally about the holy cows, may have just been the last straw... That might also explain why the various Congress spokespersons are -- very non-ruminatively, one must say -- foaming at the mouth, and while the PM did try valiantly, if belatedly, to dismiss it all as a joke today, Mr Rahul Gandhi, apparently said at the same iftaar function, when asked for his views on the Cattlegate, that the party had already spoken.
Sherlock Holmes may never have said it, but it sure does seem rather elementary...The more charitable explanation at the time of Jaswant expulsion was that the BJP-wallahs were second-guessing the Sangh leadership and merely wanted to ingratiate themselves with the RSS after Mr Bhagwat had spoken. In this case, too, goes the chartitable theory, all this show of outrage at what should have been dismissed with a laugh, may well be nothing more than an effort to curry favour with the holiest of the holy cows in the Congress.