- Mattering to India: The Shashi Tharoor Campaign (Electronic book text)
- Mattering to India: The Shashi Tharoor Campaign - T. P. Sreenivasan - Google Книги
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His half-baked Malayalam had its own charm.
In Kerala, speaking 'Manglish' was often seen as a virtue, it being a sign of foreign education and aristocratic life abroad. Voters presumed that, with his background of the UN, he would leverage UN funds for the development of Thiruvananthapuram. They thought that foreign investors would line up to get here.
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- Mattering to India : the Shashi Tharoor campaign.
Cities like Barcelona would be twinned with Thiruvananthapuram, opening the doors to prosperity. T his time, Tharoor was still the handsomest Nair, as Paul Zachariah put it, and his silver tongue and golden pen were much in evidence, but he appeared bruised and vulnerable in several ways. Holy cows and cattle class still chased him and all his efforts to demonstrate his love for the game of cricket reminded the people about the IPL fiasco.
Mattering to India: The Shashi Tharoor Campaign (Electronic book text)
The tragic death of his wife, Sunanda Pushakar, cast a shadow around him despite his protestation that he should be allowed to grieve in private. Even my repeated assertions that I knew that Sunanda Pushkar was seriously ill and that I knew someone, who died of the same disease, carried no conviction and dismissed as the desperate efforts of a friend to help him. The stern conduct rules of the election deterred his detractors from repeating the unanswered questions, but whispers were centered around the events at the Leela hotel in Delhi on January 17 this year.
The main plank of the Tharoor campaign this time was development, the theme of every party and every candidate. The national programmes of the UPA government were mentioned occasionally, but the focus was on the development the MP brought to Thiruvananthapuram by way of new trains, new escalators, new mast lights and big national flags.
The maximum and effective use of the MP Fund, an obligation, was projected as a great accomplishment. The expectation of building the Vizhinjam port and the hope for the establishment of a high court bench in Thiruvananthapuram, Tharoor said, were issues older than him, but he had moved them forward by his continuous efforts. The Opposition dismissed them as flights of fancy and claimed the credit of development for themselves. The campaign team pointed out how Tharoor had published periodic reports, highlighting his work in the constituency.
His use of the social media and interaction with youngsters were effective tools. Though nobody mentioned it, the publication of Pax Indica and a book incorporating the views of the young MPs of the Indian Parliament India -- the Future is Now were feathers in his cap. His Malayalam had improved so much that he was brave enough to interpret Rahul Gandhi's speech from English to the vernacular at a public function. The opposition to Tharoor was formidable this time.
The BJP leader, O Rajagopal, the only candidate, who had seen a thousand moons, had a credible record of selfless service and of having done something concrete for the state when he was a minister in the NDA government. He has acquired a saintly image over the years, with no reason for anyone to vote against him. The general belief that he would be a minister in the Modi Cabinet gave him an advantage.
The Leftist candidate from the Nadar community, hardly a Communist, who contested on the CPI ticket, turned out to be a serious challenger as a community leader and social worker. Tharoor is a familiar face and his cultivated costume with a tricolor shawl on his kurta has become a fashion symbol, which was emulated by others at least occasionally. But his campaign clothes this time marked him out as an outsider.
The last time, he had sported the local Congress uniform of white dhoti and shirt, which enabled him to merge with Congress leaders. Would the Chinese government see me principally as the UN official many of them knew, and whose professional performance they had witnessed at close quarters at UN Headquarters, or as the thin Indian edge of an anti-Chinese wedge?
Mattering to India: The Shashi Tharoor Campaign - T. P. Sreenivasan - Google Книги
The prime minister said that the government would make its own inquiries, but that I should do so as well, in the hope that a personal approach would elicit a franker response than a diplomatic query. Accordingly, I spoke to the Permanent Representative of China, the energetic ambassador Wang Guangya, to say that I would like to call on his foreign minister, Li Zhaoxing.
India is considering nominating me to contest for the post of secretary general — and this is what I wish to discuss with him. If he does not wish to receive me on this subject, I will get the message and no embarrassment need be caused on either side. It took him a few days but he did indeed call back.
Since it is a personal issue, I am not coming on an official mission for the UN.
And since I do not work for the Indian government, I am not coming as an Indian emissary either. This is a purely personal visit, for which I am taking annual leave and travelling on my own.
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The understanding was that I could expect 20 minutes with him and an hour with senior officials of the foreign ministry, followed by a lunch. The meeting duly began with all formality. This could have been a signal that China felt there were enough contenders in the fray already — or that an Indian would be an unwelcome addition to the list. But Li went out of his way to dispel such an interpretation of his remarks.
He explored my thoughts on various world issues. Our conversation was wide-ranging, substantive and amicable; the 20 minutes assigned stretched on to an hour and a half. At one point, Li switched to French, and was pleasantly surprised at the fluency of my response. After an amicable exchange in that language, he laughed: As the meeting drew to a close, his tone turned grave. He spoke slowly and clearly in English: China will not stand in your way.
There was only one possible interpretation of these words: China would not use its veto to block me. If China had already made its mind up in favour of another candidate, there was no sign of it. It was obvious to me that my nationality would not render me their preferred choice in the post, but this was a clear message that they would not explicitly oppose me either. It was now up to me to fare better than the other contenders.
The foreign minister was as good as his word. Council members could vote positively, negatively or with no opinion on all the candidates and, as we subsequently learned, China had voted positively for all the Asian candidates, including me. That was done by the United States, which, Bolton reveals, backed Ban to the hilt and lobbied on his behalf with other Security Council members.
When I had dinner with former president George W. Bush on his visit to Mumbai in early , he grinned broadly and said: For the secretary of state and her department, three considerations appear to have prevailed. First, the bilateral relationship with South Korea. At a time when various irritants had cropped up between Washington and then president Roh Moo-hyun, the last thing Rice needed was to antagonise the South Koreans on an issue that clearly mattered a great deal to them, and did not matter much to the US.
Second, Washington never got the impression that the UN secretary generalship was as much a priority for India as it clearly was for the South Koreans. If Indian diplomats ever mentioned it, they claimed, they did so with the air of officials merely doing their duty.