Shashi Tharoor survives aggressive rival campaign to win by a wide margin

Shashi Tharoor survives aggressive rival campaign to win by a wide margin
Congress leader Shashi Tharoor at Parliament during its Winter Session, in New Delhi on Wednesday, Jan 02, 2019.Photo/Kamal Singh)(
Shashi Tharoor, the sitting MP of Kerala’s capital Thiruvananthapuram reclaimed his seat.

He won by a margin of 99,989 votes over his closest competitor Bharatiya Janata Party’s Kummam Rajasekharan .

Former Union Minister in the UPA government Shashi Tharoor has fought his toughest election ever in 2019. Surprisingly, for this Congress candidate, 2019 is a much tougher than the 2014 election when his wife Sunanda Pushkar had died a few months before elections, under mysterious circumstances.

Then he was elected albeit a lower margin, affected by a Modi wave and allegations of involvement in Pushkar’s death. This time around, Tharoor was countered by a full throttle campaigning by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the communist party.

A matter of faith

The BJP candidate K Rajasekharan has been playing the ‘faith’ angle. The Sabrimala controversy has left the majority of the population angry as many believed that women should not enter the shrine, to maintain its sanctity. The party had been banking on the fact that people are angry with Left Democratic Front (LDF) in the state.

BJP also believed that their ability to sway votes will be able to let them win their first seat in the state. Last election, their candidate O Rajagopal had come very close to bringing Tharoor down. Tharoor won by a bare minimum margin of over 15,000 votes, much unlike his earlier victories. It indicated that BJP might have a chance at a win, this time around.

Tharoor who had earlier risen to the rank of Under Secretary General at the United Nations, and known for his chaste English, entered Indian politics in 2009. He struck a chord with his electorate in spite of not being a typical Malayalee.

Though Tharoor is known to sing Christian carols and embrace Islamic traditions, he also identifies himself as a Hindu. During the Sabarimalai controversy, he banded with the popular opinion and stood with his people.

C Divakaran, an MLA from Communist Party of India is the third contestant, who sought mandate from Thiruvananthapuram by focusing on civic issues, moving away from popularity, incumbency and matters of faith.