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regular-article-logo Tuesday, 23 April 2024

Kerala BJP in a bind after veteran leader O. Rajagopal lauds Shashi Tharoor, backtracks

This comes at a time the BJP is rumoured to be keen on fielding central ministers in a few seats in Kerala, including Thiruvananthapuram, where it has yet to win a single Parliament seat

K.M. Rakesh Bangalore Published 10.01.24, 06:44 AM
O Rajagopal

O Rajagopal Sourced by the Telegraph

Veteran BJP leader and former Union minister O. Rajagopal has put his party in a bind by declaring that Shashi Tharoor is invincible in Thiruvananthapuram.

This comes at a time the BJP is rumoured to be keen on fielding central ministers in a few seats in Kerala, including Thiruvananthapuram, where it has yet to win a single Parliament seat.

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While addressing an event in Thiruvananthapuram on Monday where Shashi Tharoor was presented with an award named after journalist N. Ramachandran, Rajagopal recalled how he wondered about the reason for a former under-secretary-general of the United Nations to contest from Thiruvananthapuram.

“I had my doubts when he decided to contest from Thiruvananthapuram… I had then asked why was he contesting in Thiruvananthapuram,” he recalled.

“But, let me say it is a surprise that he has been able to conquer the minds of the people of Thiruvananthapuram. That is why he repeatedly wins in Thiruvananthapuram. I doubt anyone else can win from here in the near future,” said Rajagopal, who had narrowly lost to Tharoor in the 2019 elections.

But in a quick turnaround, the BJP veteran blamed the media for misinterpreting his speech. “The media didn’t interpret what I meant.”

“I had spoken about him as a person who has won more than once (from Thiruvananthapuram),” he stated in a Facebook post.

He even claimed that the BJP is now in a position to win Thiruvananthapuram taking into account “the changed political scenario, the work done by the Narendra Modi government, and the party’s hard work”.

He added that the lack of Tharoor’s regular presence in Thiruvananthapuram would affect his winning chances.

But the Congress grabbed Rajagopal’s original statement with both hands. “It’s true. Shashi Tharoor is a people’s representative who has conquered the hearts of the people. In the coming elections, he will win by an even bigger margin. We are happy that even the BJP’s senior leaders have understood that reality,” leader of the Opposition V.D. Satheesan told reporters on Tuesday, although the party has not yet decided on the candidates.

However, LDF convener and CPM leader E.P. Jayarajan interpreted Rajagopal’s adulation for Tharoor as “the first voice of the understanding between BJP and Congress that is shaping up in Kerala”.

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