Shashi Tharoor to face lightweight opponent Bennet Abraham
Shashi Tharoor, Union Minister of State for Human Resources Development, is likely to face a lightweight opponent in the coming Lok Sabha elections. The CPI has almost decided to field an unknown non-political person, Bennet Abraham, in Thiruvananthapuram seat from where Tharoor will seek re-election. Unable to find a suitable opponent for Tharoor, CPI zeroed in on Bennet for his caste connections.
Tharoor had in his electoral debut in 2009 trounced his CPI rival P. Ramachandran Nair by nearly 1 lakh votes.
Abraham is a prominent member of the Church of South India (CSI). The Nadars, a Christian backward caste which has a sizable presence in the capital district, are CSI flock. Abraham is a director of a CSI-run private medical college and a former State Public Service Commission member.
O. Rajagopal, the former Union Minister of State for Railways, is the BJP candidate. Thiruvananthapuram and Kasargode are the only two seats where BJP has more than 10 per cent votes.
Initially, Tharoor was not keen to contest elections, following the controversy over the untimely death of his wife Sunanda Pushkar in January this year.
While there were reports that he himself would keep away from the election in the aftermath of his loss, some other reports said the Congress would not field him fearing a backlash over the controversy. But Tharoor decided to contest again and even unofficially launched his campaign in the constituency much before the formal announcement came. Though the Congress is yet to announce its list, Tharoor and K V Thomas, Union Minister of State for Consumer Welfare, in Ernakulam are widely seen as the sure names.