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Business News/ Politics / News/  Shashi Tharoor says BJP 'strong player' in Thiruvananthapuram, but Rajeev Chandrasekhar faces 'perception battle'
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Shashi Tharoor says BJP 'strong player' in Thiruvananthapuram, but Rajeev Chandrasekhar faces 'perception battle'

Lok Sabha Election 2024: Congress MP Shashi Tharoor says he believes that the “BJP may be ahead of the Communists this time around” in Kerala.

Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Union Minister and BJP candidate Rajeev Chandrasekhar with Congress candidate Shashi Tharoor during a function, ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, in Thiruvananthapuram, on Monday, March 11. (PTI)Premium
Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Union Minister and BJP candidate Rajeev Chandrasekhar with Congress candidate Shashi Tharoor during a function, ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, in Thiruvananthapuram, on Monday, March 11. (PTI)

Shashi Tharoor, a Congress MP and candidate from Thiruvananthapuram seat in Kerala, on Friday said "it's not surprising" that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has "turned out as a strong player" in the Lok Sabha seat.

In an interview with news agency ANI, Tharoor said that in the past two elections, the BJP had emerged as the second party in his opinion. “In the first election that I fought in 2009, I took the seat from the Communists...but thereafter, the BJP has come second."

ALSO READ: LS polls: Shashi Tharoor accepts Rajeev Chandrasekhar's challenge for open debate, 'people of Thiruvananthapuram aware…’

"It's not a surprise that they have turned out to be a strong player. The Communist campaign has been lacklustre...whereas the BJP has moved into the second position in this constituency," he said.

The Congress MP went on to say that he believes the “BJP may be ahead of the Communists this time around."

"It [BJP] is taking this race seriously. Frankly, it is BJP's strongest seat in Kerala. So if they have any hope at all, it is here… We are also batting with equal vehemence and confidence," he added.

'BJP candidate here is facing a real perception battle'

The BJP has fielded Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar as its Lok Sabha election candidate from Thiruvananthapuram — a stronghold of Congress' Shashi Tharoor.

Tharoor said the BJP candidate "here [Thiruvananthapuram] is facing a real perception battle because of the affidavit." He alleged that "the BJP candidate's affidavit shows that he is a billionaire who is paying less taxes than the taxi drivers".

ALSO READ: Shashi Tharoor's assets value has doubled in 10 years. How rich the Congress MP is?

"So in Kerala, we pay our taxes, we don't like to see this kind of things...so he has got a different kind of challenge quite beyond the Hindutva issue and communal baggage," Tharoor told ANI.

The Congress had earlier moved the Election Commission, complaining that there was a mismatch between the actual assets of Chandrasekhar and those that he had declared in his election affidavit.

According to the affidavit filed along with the nomination papers, Chandrasekhar's total income shown in the 2022-23 Income Tax return is 5,59,200, while it was 680 for the year 2021-22.

Presenting what he stated were "facts" of the matter, Chandrasekhar posted on X: "I have ONLY been in public life for several years and my income is derived ONLY from MP/minister salary, perks, and interest/dividend from savings/investments."

"In the year 2021-2022, my taxable income was sharply reduced because of partnership (in his businesses) losses incurred during the Covid period," he said.

 

‘BJP hit the ceiling in Kerala, broke 3 promises’

Tharoor agrees that the saffron party has boosted its clout in Kerala, of late. “In Kerala, the BJP went in the last 35 years from being a 2-3 per cent party to 12-13 per cent party. That's the ceiling for communal messaging. You can't grow beyond that with that kind of message." 

The Congress leader was reacting to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's “Muslim League" remark on the Congress' manifesto.

Tharoor added that the BJP's track record in Kerala and Thiruvananthapuram “is very poor". The party made three promises in Kerala and broke all of them, he noted.

"The BJP promised three things in Kerala — AIIMS, National University of Ayurveda and National University of Disability Studies — but broke all three promises. All we can say is — Modi ki guarantee hai that whatever promises they make in Kerala they will break," he added.

(With inputs from agencies)

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Published: 12 Apr 2024, 04:49 PM IST
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