December 26, 2011

One kick on the butt is more than enough... I have learnt lessons in politics, says Tharoor

Thiruvananthapuram: Listing his major achievements in the last two years as member of Lok Sabha in a 'half-term report,' Shashi Tharoor today said he was not disappointed with his work, but had learnt lessons in politics and got rid of illusions.

The diplomat-turned MP, who was elected from Thiruvanathapuram constituency, told  a press conference here that he had not yet become a 'typical' politician whatever that term meant.  "I am still who I am. I am learning lessons and making contributions," he said.

He said it had now become fashionable to decry the entire political class which was improper. There might be corrupt politicians, but there were others with long experience in politics and devoted to social service.

To a question, Tharoor said he was not 'parachuted' from the top. "If I was parachuted, I should have entered the Rajya Sabha. I took the ground transport, went to all sections of people and won an election fair and square," he said.

Not hiding his disappointment at the failure of his dream project of twinning the cities of Thiruvananthapuram and Barcelona, Tharoor alleged that due to 'petty politics' by Left Front municipal corporation, the agreement for twin city was sadly allowed to lapse.

He also listed as his achievement the bringing of IPL team for Kerala, the controversy over which he lost his post as Union Minister. The work for getting an international cricket stadium for the capital city was being strengthened, he said.

Tharoor said he also personally intervened to bring the world-renowned Hay Literary Festival, which had never before been held in India, to Thiruvananthapuram.

Tharoor said during his short 11-month stint as Union Minister of State for External Affairs, he could initiate new policy-planning activities on the Indian Ocean and represented India effectively at many global events, creating new relationships, especially with the countries in Africa which were earlier French colonies.

He could also guide and implement arrangements for Haj pilgrimage in an exemplary manner leaving no room for complaints from pilgrims.

Functioning of passport offices was improved and help rendered Keralites facing problems relating to visas, repatriation and compensation claims.

He listed as his achievements constituency road development works, infrastructural development for postal services, inauguration of the Rs 120 crore super-speciality departments at the Medical college Hospital complex and progress with the Vizhinjam International seaport project.

The new terminal for international airport and Air India hangar unit here were also pursued to completion, Tharoor said.