Shashi Tharoor is a public intellectual who has been serving as a Member of Parliament for Thiruvananthapuram-Kerala, since 2009. When he began his political career he was approached by the Congress, the Communists, and the BJP. He chose Congress because he felt ideologically comfortable with it. In March 2009, Tharoor contested the Indian General elections as a candidate for the Congress Party in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.
Despite criticism that he was an “elite outsider” Tharoor won the elections by a margin of 99,989. They then selected him as a Minister of State in the Council of Ministers of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. On 28 May 2009, he was sworn in as Minister of State for External Affairs, in charge of Africa, Latin America, and the Gulf, including the Haj pilgrimage, and the Consular, Passports, and Visas services of the Ministry. As Minister of State for External Affairs, he re-established long-dormant diplomatic relationships with African nations, where his fluency in French made him popular with Francophone countries and their heads of state.
Tharoor was a pioneer in using social media as an instrument of political interaction. He was India’s most-followed politician on Twitter until 2013, when he was overtaken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Some of his Twitter posts have proved controversial in the past and were highlighted negatively by the opposition and press. After the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti, he was the first Indian minister to visit. He reformed the measures relating to the conduct of the Haj pilgrimage. He started new policy-planning activities on the Indian Ocean and represented India at various global events during his 11-month tenure as minister. In April 2010, he resigned from the position, following allegations he had misused his office to get shares in the IPL cricket franchise. Tharoor denied the charges, and during his resignation speech in Parliament, called for a full inquiry. In a 2014 rejoinder he defended his position.
He also serves as Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology and All India Professionals Congress. He formerly served as Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on External Affairs (2014 to 2019). Born in London, UK, and raised in India, Tharoor worked across the world. At present Congress needs a good candidate for party president’s post. Tharoor actually suits the needs. He is an educated intellectual, understands Congress politics more than anyone, he has high regards for Gandhi family as he is the one who will never leave Congress for personal gains.
There are gossips that Tharoor is running for the past but he did not confirm or deny the report when reporters asked him whether he would contest the October election. News reports stated that Tharoor, an MP from Thiruvananthapuram, is “exploring the possibility” of running for Congress president but has yet to take a final call on it. “He has not made up his mind, but could take a call on it soon”. He called the election of a “fresh president” the start towards the revitalization the Congress badly needs.
Tharoor said the election also had other benefits “for instance we have seen the global interest in the British Conservative Party during their recent leadership race, a phenomenon we already witnessed in 2019, when a dozen candidates contested to replace Theresa May, and Boris Johnson emerged on top”.
Similarly, the Congress polls would increase national interest in the party and galvanise more voters towards the Congress party once again. The party will elect a new president on October 17, and with both interim chief Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi – a former president – refusing to contest, speculation is swirling around non-Gandhi options. We will know the new chief on October 19.
Ghulam Nabi Azad, who led the “G-23”, quit the party on Friday, with a five-page resignation letter targeting Rahul Gandhi and doubting the credibility of the internal election. Kapil Sibal, another prominent “rebel” quit in May. Let us see who would lead the Congress party as its president other than Gandhi’s.