Many Nagaland Congress delegates may back Shashi Tharoor

Nirendra Dev

New Delhi

This Kerala MP and a former UN official wanted to grill Home Minister Amit Shah on Oting killing
in Mon district in December 2021.

My daughter, Tanvi, shares something common with Shashi Tharoor. It’s something beyond
the alphabet ‘T’ in their names.

Well, both their fathers worked for ‘The Statesman’ newspaper. This scribe worked as the news paper’s
Special Representative in New Delhi between June 2008 to Feb 2016 while Tharoor’s father worked with
‘The Statesman’ advertisement department in Calcutta/Kolkata.

Tharoor is in news for taking on ‘dynasty’s handpicked’ Mallikarjun Kharge for the coveted Congress
presidential elections. Had it been a contest ‘free of high command’s hierarchy’ Tharoor could have easily won.

Now the outcome of the polls is perhaps well known. Yet Tharoor wants to give it a shot and he has been reaching
out to many Congressmen and women across India.

Congress leaders are enjoying a pun. There is no Congress ‘hierarchy’ without Rahul Gandhi although
Rahul is nobody officially in the hierarchy.

There are 46 delegates shortlisted from Nagaland to vote on Oct 17 and they include five women.

Expectedly, Tharoor has approached most of them if not all and he has also “personally spoken” to some
key leaders.
One Naga leader was point blank: “I will certainly vote for Tharoor”. He would not speak more. Another Congress
leader says, “younger generation leaders in Nagaland will prefer Tharoor”.

The outcome does not count. Last time the Congress had presidential elections was in the nineties when
low-profile Sitaram Yechcury was pitted against two ambitious Sharad Pawar and Rajesh Pilot.

Pilot had even visited Nagaland and tried to woo the then Chief Minister S C Jamir. The efforts did not help
his cause as Congress then obediently followed the diktats of an AICC chief in office. Kesri was, however, toppled
in a bloodless coup by Team Sonia within months.

Pilot’s visit to Kohima was marred by a minor controversy when he claimed that there was an attempt on his
life while he was returning to Dimapur on a rainy day to catch the flight. The claim was found to be an instant
of false alarm, according to one version while another police version said there were some gunfire/shots in the air.

Nevertheless, Tharoor’s contest is crucial. Tharoor is also a newsmaker in his own right for his lovely
gift of the gab. He is also a prolific writer and has the charisma of a much younger personality than his
age. He is a 1956 born ‘young and dynamic’ lawmaker from Kerala.

During a lecture session on ‘The Perils of Being an Educated Politician’, he explained how an elected lawmaker
in India is not supposed to say “no” to request from his voters. Some would come to him, he said requesting home
transfer of a Kerala man posted in trouble-torn provinces such as Nagaland or Jammu and Kashmir.

He has authored fictions as well as non-fictions like ‘The Paradoxical Prime Minister’ (on Narendra Modi) and also
one titled, “Why I am a Hindu”.
He says he grew up in India of the 1960s that had rejected partition and that “…we were a country for everyone”.

Tharoor hit headlines on December 7, 2021 days after the infamous botched up army operation in Oting
in Mon district.

Slamming Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s brief statement in Parliament on the civilian killings, Tharoor had said,

“We can’t afford to let it be perceived by people as something that allows security forces to act with impunity. The
Home Minister and Defence Minister (Rajnath Singh) should have addressed the House. Instead, you gave a very short statement and walked away without taking questions”.

One can always conclude by saying, ‘better try next time’.


Nirendra Dev
New Delhi

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Nirendra Dev
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