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The Hindu
The Hindu
The Hindu Bureau

Tharoor, Chandrasekhar squabble over a debate

As electioneering intensify in Thiruvananthapuram Lok Sabha constituency as it approaches the elections, Shashi Tharoor and Rajeev Chandrasekhar, the candidates representing United Democratic Front (UDF) and National Democratic Alliance (NDA) respectively, have been warming up to the possibility of a debate on the progress of the constituency.

Mr. Chandrasekhar initially proposed the idea, challenging his Congress rival to a debate on ideas, development and the performance track record of either candidates, while speaking to media persons some days ago.

The challenge was “welcomed” by Mr. Tharoor, but took a swipe at the BJP leader by saying “the people of Thiruvananthapuram are aware of who has been evading a debate till now”.

He took to X on Sunday to post: “Let us debate price hike, unemployment, corruption, communalism, and the BJP’s 10 years of propagating politics of hatred. Let us also discuss about the development of Thiruvananthapuram and the visible progress we have made in the last 15 years.”

Mr. Chandrasekhar, however, appeared to renege on his offer for a debate after having taken offence to the “cash-for-votes” allegations levelled at him by Mr. Tharoor.

The Congress leader had recently accused him of having offered monetary benefits to community leaders and others. Mr. Chandrasekhar has threatened legal action for allegedly slandering him.

In a response to Mr. Tharoor’s call for a debate, the NDA candidate said he would agree to a dialogue only if the three-time MP names those who claim to have received money from him.

“We have been engaging in debates across various platforms over the last two weeks, and it is evident to the people that you have faltered in providing answers to my questions. Instead, you resorted to spreading lies that not only defamed me, but also maligned several social and religious organisations within my constituency,” he said.

The squabble over the debate showed no signs of lessening with Mr. Tharoor aiming another sly jab at Mr. Chandrasekhar. In a post on X on Monday, he said: “The Trivandrum Chamber of Commerce and Industry (TCCI) invited all three candidates for a debate. The other two declined and said they would prefer to meet TCCI individually. BJP candidate has done so today and I will follow suit in due course. So much for debating!”


Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) has petitioned the Election Commission against Mr. Chandrasekhar for his alleged use of his letterhead as a Union Minister of State while the model code of conduct is in force.

The Congress cited the instance of a complaint submitted by Mr. Chandrasekhar against the party to the Election Commission. Such acts amounted to the misuse of his official position and violation of election norms, KPCC election wing convener M.K. Rahman said in a statement.

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