Lok Sabha close fights: It is Shashi Tharoor vs Rajeev Chandrasekhar for Thiruvananthapuram seat 

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The Congress on Friday announced the first list of 39 candidates for the 2024 Lok Sabha election. The Congress Election Committee on Thursday cleared the names of all 15 sitting MPs from Kerala. Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor will contest from Thiruvananthapuram.

Last week, the BJP released its first list of 195 candidates from 16 states and two Union Territories (UT) for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. In the first list, the BJP fielded Union ministers such as Mansukh Mandaviya, Jitendra Singh, Sarbananda Sonowal, Gajendra Shekhawat, Bhupender Yadav, G Kishan Reddy, Kiren Rijiju, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Rajeev Chandrashekhar, Arjun Ram Meghwal and Arjun Munda. 

Sitting MP Shashi Tharoor will contest from Thiruvananthapuram for the fourth consecutive time. The former Union minister has been winning the Thiruvananthapuram seat since 2009. Before 2009, the seat oscillated between CPM and the Congress. In 2019, Shashi Tharoor got over four lakh votes while BJP candidate Kummanam Rajasekharan was the second with around 3.16 lakh votes. On the other hand, this will be Rajeev Chandrasekhar’s first Lok Sabha election.

The other big leader in the contest is CPI leader Pannyan Raveendran, who had won the elections in 2005.

Both Chandrasekhar, 59, and Tharoor, 67, are popular faces for their parties. Tharoor, a former diplomat, contested for the Congress presidential election in October 2022 against Mallikarjun Kharge. He faced one of his toughest challenges after his wife Sunanda Pushkar’s demise in 2014. But Tharoor managed to win the seat.

On the other hand, Chandrasekhar has had a successful stint as the Minister of State for IT and Skill Development since July 2021. He has a convincing grip on the corporate sector. In a personal capacity, Chandrasekhar has been a technology entrepreneur engaged in the semiconductor manufacturing sector.

After his name was declared in the first BJP list for Lok Sabha, Chandrasekhar said: “I am very excited and honoured. This is the first opportunity I have got to contest in the Lok Sabha. I express gratitude to PM Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and party president JP Nadda who have chosen to field me as their candidate in the capital of Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram… It’s a campaign I look forward to and I will start it very shortly…The people of Thiruvananthapuram are more powerful and they will decide who they want to see victorious. BJP will have a decisive mandate in the coming elections…” . 

On Monday this week, Chandrasekhar started his maiden election campaign as the BJP’s candidate in Thiruvananthapuram.

BJP is planning big for Kerala. At present, the saffron party has no MP from the sourthern state. The BJP has put its bet on 12 names for Kerala — ML Ashwini from Kasaragod, C Raghunath from Kannur, Prafulla Krishna from Vadkara, MT Ramesh from Kozhikode, Abdul Salam from Malappuram Niveditha Subramanian from Ponnai, C Krishnakumar from Palakkad, Suresh Gopi from Thrissur, Shobha Surendran from Alappuzha, Anil K Antony from Pathanamthitta, V Muraleedharan from Attingal and Rajiv Chandrasekhar from Thiruvananthapuram.

If Chandrasekhar loses the contest against Tharoor, it would be difficult for him as a Union minister as he is no longer a Rajya Sabha member.

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