(Source: BloombergQuint)

Election 2019: Voters Didn’t Give Sabarimala Issue As Much Importance As BJP Did, Says Shashi Tharoor

Shashi Tharoor, the Congress candidate from Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, is confident of winning his third straight election to return as a Member of Parliament. And he doesn’t expect the controversy over women being allowed to enter Sabarimala temple to have any impact.

The Bharatiya Janata Party’s focus on the Sabarimala issue was the “wrong assumption” that people will vote for a “communal message”. Tharoor told BloombergQuint. “I don’t think the voters of Kerala give as much importance to Sabarimala as the BJP did.”

The BJP is hoping to win its first-ever Lok Sabha seat in Kerala in Thiruvananthapuram, among 117 constituencies where ballots were cast in the third phase on Tuesday. It fielded former Mizoram Governor Kummanam Rajasekharan, who made the protection of faith a key poll plank. The BJP candidate had won the second highest votes in 2014, and Tharoor managed to retain the seat by a margin just over 15,000 votes.

“The BJP read the wrong lesson from the last time,” said Tharoor, claiming the Modi wave that increased the party’s votes in the last election was now missing. The two-time parliamentarian expects the United Democratic Front, an alliance that the Congress is part of in Kerala, to bag at least 17 of the 20 seats in the state.

Watch the full interaction here: