Twittering Classes


A witless retort by the witty and well-heeled Minister of State, Shashi Tharoor on Twitter that he would travel “cattle class in solidarity with all our holy cows” ended up as a costly mistake for him and for the Congress Party as the Congress Party High Command initiated a drive for austerity.  The Congress Party High Command had urged all its leaders, ministers and workers to adopt austerity measures at a time when drought is affecting several parts of the country.   The Congress spokesperson, Ms. Jayanthi Natarajan, strongly condemned Tharoor’s remark, saying “the Congress disapproved of it, as it was not in sync with the party’s political culture”.


Previously, the Minister of External Affairs, Mr. S.M. Krishna and his junior Minister of State, Mr. Shashi Tharoor had left their temporary five star hotels where each minister had run up a tab of almost one crore (ten million) rupees for several months stay.  Although both of them insisted they had paid using their own money, it seemed unsightly that two public servants serving in a government which claims to work for the common man (“Aam aadmi”) should be living the five star life while tens of millions of poor people only see stars when they look up in the sky, often lying on their backs on the unpaved pavements of many of India’s overcrowded cities.


The opposition parties grabbed the bull by the horns as they milked Tharoor’s dairy gaffe.  For the urbane former UN Under Secretary General, used to a lifestyle of the proverbial “peaches and cream”, the milk of human kindness must have seemed to curdle leaving him with sour cream, not to mention a bitter aftertaste of political indigestion.


The Congress Party leaders, had coined the political slogan of “working for the common man” and along with their “austerity measures”, spared no expense to get their related and relatively younger generation of politicians scrambling on board private planes to fly to the corners of the country to meet the common man, and his cohorts, in his milieu.