Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Shashi Tharoor is once again in the news for the wrong reasons. His earlier off-the-cuff “cattle class” remark, albeit innocuous, kicked up a row in the political circle.
Perhaps his long stay abroad has made him more forthright. It is time he adjusted to our political atmosphere.
Mr. Tharoor’s latest tweet on the new visa restrictions on foreigners is unwarranted. Terrorism is global and terrorists are smart enough to get their job done anytime, in any form, and at any place. Every nation is under security threat and strives hard to fight it out in all possible ways. Instead of defending the steps taken by the government to combat terrorism, Mr. Tharoor has commented on Twitter that the 26/11 killers had no visas. Freedom of expression certainly does not include the kind of freedom the Minister seeks to exercise.
Mr. Tharoor has the knack of putting his foot in his mouth too often. The Prime Minister should ask him to stop tweeting or stop functioning as a Minister.
Taking a cosy respite after a couple of tweets earlier, Mr. Tharoor has come back with a bang questioning the Home Ministry’s visa regulations. Even after being widely criticised for his “cattle class-holy cows” remarks on the Centre’s austerity drive among Ministers, he does not seem inclined to change his ways. His remarks on the latest visa restrictions have exceeded all limits of official decorum. That he does not treat government business seriously is unfortunate. Before he opens up another baggage of comments causing more embarrassment to the government, he should quit as Minister or be stripped of his portfolio.
Mr. Tharoor has taken to the Twitter, even it means indiscretion and embarrassment to his Ministry. The principle of collective responsibility demands that no decision taken by the Cabinet is questioned by a Minister in public.
It is strange that Mr. Tharoor with his vast knowledge on international affairs could not decide how much of his personal views he should express. If he persists with his “Tweeting,” he can be asked to step down.
Mr. Tharoor has established himself as the enfant terrible of the Congress. His intellectual courage, shrewd insight and wit make him appear intractable. May his tribe increase in politics!
N. Sadasivan Pillai,
What Mr. Tharoor said — that those who carried out the 26/11 attacks did not have visas — is a fact. There is really no need to make his remarks a controversy. The UPA government has enough problems on hand. Let us look forward to a more productive New Year rather than carry the controversies of this year, plus new ones, to 2010.