Thursday, April 22, 2010

India's top tweeter proves a twit

The irony is impossible to escape. On Sunday, April 18, India's best known user of the microblogging site Twitter, Shashi Tharoor, resigned from his post as the country's junior minister for foreign affairs, felled by a scandal that began less than a week earlier with a rival's tweet. Not surprisingly, a scandal that involves politics, cricket and the whiff of illicit romance has dominated local headlines. But in the end, the Tharoor affair is less important for its drama than for its potential impact on India's political culture.

Mr. Tharoor's detractors accuse him of using his influence to arrange a sweetheart deal for a close female friend, free equity valued at $15 million in a new cricket team in the lucrative Indian Premier League. The former minister admits to informally "mentoring" the group of investors who won the team in an auction in March, but denies any wrongdoing. He says his only interest in the outcome was to bring the popular IPL to his home state of Kerala, and that his friend—variously described in the Indian media as a beautician, spa-owner and former events manager—is a victim of sexist bias against professional women.

Full report here WSJ

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