INTERVIEW | Decisive shift in momentum towards UDF during fag end of campaign: Shashi Tharoor

Express News Service

Rejecting pre-poll surveys that predict the LDF’s return to energy, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, who can be half of a high-level committee overseeing the meeting elections in Kerala for his get together, mentioned there’s a decisive shift in momentum towards the UDF during the final 10 days of the marketing campaign.

In an interview with The New Indian Express, Tharoor reminded the ruling LDF that distributing free meals kits could solely have a short-term impression. On Metroman E Sreedharan’s candidature, Tharoor mentioned an 88-year-old technocrat can’t be the reply to the state’s political future. Excerpts:

How do you view the UDF’s prospects in this election? What are the components you consider would go in favour of the UDF this time?

I believe we’re poised for a snug victory. The vanity, violent politics and corruption of the LDF authorities, coupled with gross monetary mismanagement, have created anti-incumbency. In addition, our “people’s manifesto”, arrived at after in depth consultations, and our record of candidates, that includes 55% contemporary faces, have impressed confidence. Against the confirmed corruption over which the LDF has presided, we provide far-reaching welfare provisions, main instructional reform, and an investor-friendly strategy that can generate much-needed revenues for the state, whereas the LDF has been shamelessly piling on debt for future generations to pay.

The LDF believes mountaineering welfare pension, distributing free meals kits and its numerous improvement initiatives will guarantee it a second time period. The LDF additionally cites beneficial pre-poll surveys. Your ideas?

Distribution of kits by plunging the state into debt could have a short-term impression however we’ve been explaining to voters that their youngsters and grandchildren shall be paying the invoice for these kits. As for improvement initiatives, what on earth can the LDF authorities level to that’s sustainable and sturdy? The pre-poll surveys replicate the crores of rupees in pre-election publicity the LDF spent, blanketing the media with their propaganda. That is carrying off because the marketing campaign progresses and the final ten days have seen a decisive shift in momentum towards the UDF.

ALSO READ: Kerala polls: The day of the confused voter is here

How do you reply to the BJP’s taunt that it is ‘dosti’ for Congress and CPM in West Bengal and ‘gusthi’ in Kerala? Isn’t this contradiction laborious to elucidate to the voters?

In our huge nation, every state has its distinctive political traits. The competitors between the LDF and the UDF is deeply entrenched right here. But on nationwide points, particularly these associated to secularism and opposition to the anti-people insurance policies of the BJP, we share many widespread views and infrequently make widespread trigger. Since 2014, CPM MPs who campaigned towards me in Kerala have supported my stand on many points in the Lok Sabha. As for Bengal, you’ll have to ask the native get together leaders there. But the BJP’s allegation is no surprise as a result of they’ve by no means understood or appreciated the variety of India.

The BJP accuses Congress of double requirements on Sabarimala. There is criticism by BJP central leaders that Rahul Gandhi has not talked about the problem in parliament even as soon as? How essential is the UDF’s stance on Sabarimala in this election?

Many of us have certainly talked about it in parliament and a UDF MP even launched a non-public members’ invoice as a direct problem to the ruling get together in the Centre to discover a legislative resolution to an issue they’re attempting to make political capital of. It is a crucial problem as a result of it factors to the state authorities’s disrespect for folks’s spiritual beliefs and practices. But for the UDF, in contrast to the BJP, it’s removed from being the one problem.

As half of the staff that ready the UDF’s election manifesto, you interacted with a large cross part of society. How have these interactions helped in shaping the manifesto and what’s the political pulse of the folks?

The interactions have been indispensable as a result of it gave us a possibility to listen to from all sections of society about their issues, anxieties, wants and aspirations. We spoke to specialists and to atypical folks; to entrepreneurs and staff; to lecturers and college students; to lodge house owners and auto-rickshaw drivers; to susceptible girls, landless Dalits, IT professionals and enterprise traders. The manifesto displays our greatest understanding of what the folks of Kerala want to see going ahead.

How do you reply to the idea doing the rounds that the BJP needs a second time period for the LDF in order that the UDF disintegrates over the subsequent 5 years and it may possibly tackle the function of the principal opposition in Kerala?

Such a concept could nicely exist in the twisted minds of BJP strategists. But the BJP won’t ever be the principal opposition in Kerala. The BJP can solely supply communalism, drained scare-mongering over “love jihad” and a hate-filled politics of bigotry and division that can by no means go far in pluralist, inclusive Kerala. They have hit their ceiling in the state. Mr E Sreedharan’s impression peaked with the announcement of his candidacy. An 88-year-old technocrat can’t be the reply to the state’s political future.

ALSO READ: Kerala assembly elections: Will this be Ramesh Chennithala’s finest hour yet?

You have been half of the 10-member panel supervising the meeting election. What was your particular function and is it a sign that you’d play a key function in state politics too in the approaching days?

The committee solely met thrice, so far as I’m conscious, and in the very first assembly I used to be tasked with the manifesto consultations. As a “star campaigner”, I’ve campaigned in 56 completely different constituencies for UDF candidates, however that’s the extent of my involvement in state politics to date. I do have a job to do in New Delhi, entrusted to me by the get together and by the voters of Thiruvananthapuram. That is the place I anticipate to proceed, except and till the get together wills in any other case.

Are you continue to related to the ‘G23’ which is pushing for reforms in the Congress? Are you hopeful that organisational points raised by the group shall be resolved?

The G-23 isn’t a proper organisation; the title is a creation of the media. 23 of us dedicated Congressmen signed a letter that made proposals to strengthen the get together. Those proposals, the Working Committee has declared, shall be mentioned in an AICC session after the May outcomes are out. I’m hopeful that our concepts will get a receptive listening to as a result of we’re solely in the success of the Congress, not in undermining the get together in any manner. I hope my very own involvement in this marketing campaign will present you the place our hearts and minds are.

Any message to the ruling CPM-led LDF?

I tweeted a warning per week in the past to the ruling get together: “Do not count the ships in the harbour but see which way the wind is blowing”! It is blowing the UDF’s manner.

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