Shashi Tharoor brands PM Modi torch-bearer of bigotry

Shashi Tharoor brands PM Modi torch-bearer of bigotry

Congress leader Shashi Tharoor. PTI file photo

Congress leader Shashi Tharoor has branded Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the torch-bearer of bigotry. He also alleged that the BJP was spreading lies on the Sabarimala temple entry for women of all ages issue.

Tharoor, who is indeed the most high profile Lok Sabha candidate in Kerala after Congress president Rahul Gandhi, is having high hopes that Congress will emerge as the single largest party. The former UN career official-turned politician felt that his principal opponent in Thiruvananthapuram constituency is the BJP and not the Left front. Excerpts of DH's chat with Tharoor on his campaign trail:

How do you view BJP's campaign aimed at communal polarisation?

It is very sad that the Prime Minister of the country himself is becoming the torch-bearer of bigotry. Narendra Modi should have been speaking as a Prime Minister of all Indians irrespective of their faith. The BJP, unfortunately, has not hidden their bigotry, the latest being the false campaign against the Indian Union Muslim League in Kerala. It is well known that the IUML has been a secular party with decades of tradition. But imagine, if anyone got mislead by the BJP's campaign against IUML linking it with Pakistan, they will accuse the Congress of consorting with such a party.

How is Sabarimala issue working out in the election?

The BJP is carrying out a lie campaign on the Sabarimala issue. They claim that they stood with the devotees. However, they only had political intentions and even made a holy place a stage for their political drama. We are trying to expose this by all means.

Does Thiruvananthapuram constituency have Rahul Gandhi effect?

It seems there is no direct effect of Rahul Gandhi's contest at North Kerala district Wayanad in Thiruvananthapuram, which is at the southern end. But obviously, a Rahul effect is there all over the state. The party workers are energised and the public are excited that the next Prime Minister could be from Kerala. Even the people of nearby districts of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu are also excited.

Who is your major opponent in Thiruvananthapuram?

Though it is a three-cornered contest here, the principal opponent is BJP. The Left candidate C Divakaran was quite active initially. But over the last few days nothing much is being heard about his campaign. But we can't take the campaign easy till the last moment of casting votes.

What is your post-poll prediction?

Congress will emerge as the single largest party. Moreover, parties that are opposed to the Congress in the elections would prefer to ally with Congress after the polls rather than with the BJP. With regard to Kerala, it would be a clean sweep for Congress-led UDF as predicted by many poll surveys.