‘People like me... my karma bhoomi has now become my naadu,’ says Shashi Tharoor

Fervently waving at supporters, mostly youngsters and women, Tharoor notes that there are “hardly six days left for the polls” and recalls Parkinson’s Law.
‘People like me... my karma bhoomi has now become my naadu,’ says Shashi Tharoor
Express.

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Shashi Tharoor’s fourth electoral outing in Thiruvananthapuram appears to be the toughest one he has faced so far. Though said to be a triangular contest, the incumbent Congress MP views it as a prestige battle between him and NDA candidate Rajeev Chandrasekhar.

“Frankly, it is the BJP’s strongest seat in Kerala,” Tharoor recently told the media. “We are also batting with equal vehemence and confidence.”

Tharoor, however, does not display any sign of anxiety as we join him in one of his campaign trails.

Clad in a bright magenta kurta, he begins the day praying at the Sree Narayana Guru Mandiram, and paying tributes to the statues of Mahatma Ayyankali and Chattambi Swami – all in and around Gowreesapattom, which is part of the Vattiyoorkavu assembly segment.

He reaches a bit late at Mulavana Junction, where former Congress state president V M Sudheeran, who hails from the area, launches the first campaign meet of the day.

As Tharoor ascends the makeshift stage, many passers-by and motorists halt to catch a glimpse of the UDF’s ‘global citizen’. Supporters line up to drape him in handloom shawls and tricolour stoles around his shoulders

In his speech, Tharoor assails the BJP, accusing the party of creating divisions in society. Besides exhorting people to back the Congress, Tharoor also highlights the importance of the INDIA bloc at the national level.

Tharoor’s makeshift campaign vehicle is well-equipped to beat the heat – two fans and an air cooler.

As the motorcade proceeds, Tharoor fastens his seatbelt and adjusts the seat height so as to get a clear view of people on the roadside.

Fervently waving at supporters, mostly youngsters and women, Tharoor notes that there are “hardly six days left for the polls” and recalls Parkinson’s Law.

“It is the old adage that work expands to fill the time allotted for its completion. I have been doing everything possible within the seven-week campaign period,” he tells TNIE as he waves at a group of young women in front of a ladies’ hostel at Ambalamukku.

“I need votes from all generations. However, it is true that the youth express excitement on seeing me. Everything I do is, ultimately, for the next generation. They see hope when they see me.”

Tharoor nonchalantly dismisses murmurs about him facing anti-incumbency. Is there a case of ‘familiarity breeding contempt’? “People who know me like me,” he replies.

“I get this feeling that they like me. We can see the youth and women standing outside their homes and waving at me. The menfolk must be at work. I have contested in three elections. I feel this one, too, is coming my way. Thiruvananthapuram used to be my karma bhoomi (land of action) , but now it has become my naadu (hometown).”

Later, while attending a brief corner meeting at Brindavan Housing Colony in Pattom, a group of first-time voters throngs him. City residents Jisha and Gadha say they are excited about voting for Tharoor. Their friends, Shwetha from Bengaluru and Rajat Subham Roy from Kolkata, who are here for National Eligibility Test coaching also join the huddle.

“Unlike in West Bengal, the candidates in Kerala are warm and approachable,” says Rajat, who has been in Thiruvananthapuram for eight months. “However, there we have more door-to-door campaigning. The main issue we face in our colony here is the shortage of drinking water. The candidates should take it up.”

Tharoor has a brief chat with the youngsters, before rushing back to his motorcade. And, as he boards the vehicle, he points to the message pasted on its side: “INDIA will win, we will win.”

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