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Business News/ Politics / News/  Lok Sabha Election 2024: Shashi Tharoor vs Rajeev Chandrasekhar? High-octane poll battle likely in Thiruvananthapuram
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Lok Sabha Election 2024: Shashi Tharoor vs Rajeev Chandrasekhar? High-octane poll battle likely in Thiruvananthapuram

Fielding Chandrasekhar is part of BJP's aim at making inroads in Kerala, the state where it failed to win any seats in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections

Fielding Rajeev Chandrasekhar is part of BJP’s aim to make inroads in Kerala, where it had failed to win any seats in the 2019 Lok Sabha electionsPremium
Fielding Rajeev Chandrasekhar is part of BJP’s aim to make inroads in Kerala, where it had failed to win any seats in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections

Among the 34 Union Ministers whose names featured in BJP’s first list of 195 candidates released last weekend was Rajeev Chandrasekhar, who has been fielded from Thiruvananthapuram, a seat in Kerala considered Congress leader Shashi Tharoor’s stronghold.

While Congress has yet to announce its candidate from the constituency, if they choose to field Tharoor again, it will be one of the high-profile contests in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections 2024.

Fielding Chandrasekhar is part of BJP’s aim to make inroads in Kerala, where it had failed to win any seats in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. In one of his recent visits to Kerala, Prime Minister Narendra Modi talked about the goal of achieving a two-digit figure in the state in the upcoming Lok Sabha 2024 polls.

Chandrasekhar, Union Minister of State for Information Technology and Skill Development, is a three-time Rajya Sabha member and will contest Lok Sabha polls for the first time. Tharoor, former Union Minister of State for External Affairs, has won the seat three times since 2009.

Also Read: BJP can win ‘double digit’ number in Kerala if…: Shashi Tharoor crunches number ahead of Lok Sabha polls 2024

Chandrasekhar, 59, brings a technocratic background, having worked at Intel, founded BPL Mobile, and later sold his stake for US $ 1.1 billion. Tharoor, 67, is a former international civil servant, an author, and a public intellectual apart from a politician.

Not born in Kerala

Chandrasekhar and Tharoor are from Kerala, yet neither was born there. Chandrasekhar was born to Malayali parents in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. His ancestral home is in Kondayur in Thrissur district of Kerala. Tharoor was born in London, United Kingdom, to Chandran Tharoor and Sulekha Menon, a Malayali couple from Palakkad, Kerala.

After completing his electrical engineering at Manipal Institute of Technology, Chandrasekhar studied Master’s in Computer Science at the Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago. In 1988, he joined Intel. In 1991, Chandrasekhar returned to India and joined his father-in-law’s company, BPL Group. He founded BPL Mobile in 1994. However, in 2005, he sold his 64 percent stake in BPL Communications to Essar Group for US $1.1 billion. In 2005, Chandrasekhar founded Jupiter Capital with an initial investment of US$100 million.

Tharoor studied at Montfort School, Yercaud, near Salem in Tamil Nadu, and Campion School in Mumbai. He did his Bachelor’s in history from St Stephen’s College, New Delhi. Tharoor got his Master’s in International Relations from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in Medford, United States. He also has a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy and a PhD in International Relations and Affairs.

Also Read: BJP candidate list 2024: Rajya Sabha route? Not any more for these 7 Union ministers. Details here

Tharoor’s career in the United Nations began in 1978 as a staff member of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Geneva. Tharoor resigned from the post of Under-Secretary-General in April 2007. In 2006, the Union government nominated Tharoor for the post of UN Secretary-General. Tharoor finished second, behind Ban Ki-moon of South Korea.

Political Journey

Chandrasekhar began his parliamentary journey in 2006 as an independent member of the Rajya Sabha, representing Karnataka. In 2018, he was re-elected for the third term to Rajya Sabha as a BJP member. 

Chandrasekhar became a Minister of State following the cabinet reshuffle in July 2021 in the second Narendra Modi government. He has been a prominent voice in the Narendra Modi government and is also present at the BJP headquarters during the induction of new leaders into the party.

Tharoor contested his first Lok Sabha elections from Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, in 2009. He won by a margin of nearly 1 lakh votes. In 2014, when Tharoor was up against BJP veteran O Rajagopal, the winning margin came down to 15,470 votes. In 2019, Tharoor once again defeated BJP candidate Kummanam Rajasekharan.

Also Read: Indian national from Kerala killed in anti-tank missile attack near Israel, 2 injured

Tharoor was the country’s most-followed politician on X (formerly Twitter) until 2013, when he was overtaken by Narendra Modi, the then BJP’s prime ministerial candidate. Tharoor has been Minister of State for External Affairs and HRD (now Education) in the UPA governments under Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. In 2022, Tharoor lost the Congress presidential elections to Mallikarjun Kharge.

In December last year, Tharoor hinted that the upcoming 2024 Lok Sabha elections may mark his final contest from the Thiruvananthapuram seat. The Congress party has not announced its candidates yet.

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Published: 05 Mar 2024, 01:10 PM IST
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