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Fall of a Hero: Voices from Twitterland

Last updated on: April 20, 2010 12:28 IST

Ironically, it was Twitter that did Shashi Tharoor in. Though the former minister of state external affairs has maintained a stoic silence on the micro-blogging site ever since his unceremonious exit, his followers are on the rampage.

Perhaps more than Thiruvananthapuram, his constituency where he won from by more than one lakh votes, the biggest support for the beleaguered minister still comes from Twitter. While many have started online campaigns, others chose to tweet, expressing solidarity with the former United Nations diplomat. In cricketing parlance, some give him benefit of the doubt in the whole murky affairs of the Indian Premier League.

Not that there are no brickbats for Tharoor. Many aver that being a minister who holds an important portfolio, he should not have tweeted the way he did. Politics, they say, is a far more important game. 

We spoke to a cross-section of people active on twitter, to gauge their opinion vis-a-vis Tharoor. Some quotes have been taken from Twitter, while others were contacted over the phone.

Piyush: Tharoor's past tweets did not contain any serious offence. His trackrecord as a minister seems good. He was a perfect junior minister who worked like a donkey and committed too many errors to get any promotion.

Arun Vipra: He is Twitter's first victim. This is a lesson for Tharoor. I strongly believe that he will make a comeback and emerge stronger.

Ullas Nair, Tiruvalla, Kerala: I always felt that right from the beginning Tharoor was not fit for the post. He should have been sacked long back when he first created the controversy on Twitter. He was not fit to hold that post and should have been more sensible while tweeting. One should understand that he is not a common man and cannot speak the way he wants. Holding such an important post, he should have been more prudent.

Leo Mavely, Ahmedabad: It is rather unfortunate to see a minister with 24 years of spotless UN track record had to quit on alleged corruption charges. However, I feel he should have offered himself to a judicial inquiry to come clean on allegations and stay away from office until then. In politics, perception of corruption is more dangerous than corruption itself. He definitely had a long way to go as a minister who easily connected with public. Twitter has played an important role in his short stint but it didn't cave him in, rather an unconvincing way of handling this allegation did.  

Nikhil Narayanan, voter from Thiruvananthapuram, now in Bengaluru:  Painful to see Tharoor's  exit. Dear MP, given a chance, I'll vote for you again and again.

Biju Narayanan, voter, Thiruvananthapuram:  On the brighter side, we could do better with a full-time MP

Channamallikarjun Basavanagouda: Being the external affairs minister, he should not have tweeted about the government issues in public. All politicians are nothing but businessmen after all.

CR: I have two things to say. Tharoor on Twitter:  This is the first time a minister or an MP who was directly connecting to the people, many would be bots, but he did create his own following. This should be appreciated. He was speaking to people directly. This could not be digested by many leaders who wanted exclusives from the minister. So, first he created enemies within the media. They were waiting for a chance to get back at him. Last, but not the least, would the Congress allow a minister who is growing more popular than the Prince himself. Answers are not forthcoming. And also remember, the Congress has a long elephantine memory. Remember his holy cows & cattle class comments.

On Tharoor & IPL: He should have resigned the day the news about Sunanda Pushkar came out. It seems like Tharoor wanted to gate-crash into a party -- read IPL-- where he was not invited and made powerful enemies.

Sudhir Kumar, Hyderabad: In my opinion, there is one more important question that the media has not asked Tharoor. In his statement, Thaoor has accused Lalit Modi is trying to scuttle the bid for Kochi. If he knew Lalit Modi was scuttling the bid for Kochi, did he not complain to the IPL governing council? If not, why? If he claims to be passionate about cricket, why didn't he raise this at the appropriate forums?

As commissioner of IPL, Lalit Modi is supposed to act neutral. The charge that ST has laid is no small one -- he has accused the IPL commissioner of being biased, and doesn't it become ST's responsibility to bring it to the notice of IPL governing council? As someone who claims to have come into the system to be the change, wasn't it imprudent of him not to take up this issue before? His first aim might be an IPL team to Kochi and not cleaning up IPL, but as a public official, can he really escape with such an argument?

Another point is the debate about whether Tharoor is a "misfit" in Indian politics. It is a shame that Indian politics has been stereotyped by the likes of Farooq Abdullah and entering into the murky world by "sophisticated" folks is being seen as unwanted. I always admire Tharoor for choosing to fight elections, instead of taking the Rajya Sabha  route. However, IPL has clearly bought out a murky side of him. It is unfortunate that the bigger fish still survive in the government while he had to go -- but that same argument cannot be used to spare him of this impropriety.

Saju Ramachandran, Bahrain: I feel let down by Tharoor, just as when a promising Sachin innings ends in a soft dismissal

Joseph John: He should get a new OSD who doesn't shoot his mouth off. An OSD's job is to attract attention to his boss, not  to himself

Nakul Shenoy, Bengaluru: Does any media house have the gall to take up Tharoor's side? We lose a most qualified & articulate minister to sick dirty politics?

Aravindan: Remember your Stephanian Slogan "Shashi Tharoor Jeetega Zaroor". Time will heal and time will tell a telling tale. We need you.

Kenney Jacob on Twitter: Dear Gujarathis, We poor Keralaites didnt know that IPL was your family business. We apologise for having intervened.

Vicky Nanjappa