« Back to articlePrint this article

'BJP is out of power this time'

Last updated on: April 30, 2024 12:15 IST

'The nation cannot afford a government indifferent to its plight.'

IMAGE: Dr Shashi Tharoor, the Congress candidate for Thiruvananthpuram Lok Sabha seat, at the late night interview with Rediff at the Starbucks 24 hour cafe in the city. Photograph and Videos: Archana Masih for

The autorickshaw driver had agreed to drop us at the 24-hour Starbucks in Thiruvananthpuram at 10 pm on the condition that we return with him.

But he quickly changed his mind on knowing that we had to wait for Dr Shashi Tharoor who had agreed to meet us for an interview at the coffee shop at the end of his campaign day. Assuring us that autos were available till as late as 1 am, he showed his palm, the Congress poll symbol, and said that he would be voting for Dr Tharoor before driving away.

Dr Tharoor, seeking a record fourth term, is on the penultimate day of campaigning. It had been a long and hard day in the harsh sun that insidiously saps the body. Earlier in the afternoon, Sachin Pilot had addressed an event and given Dr Tharoor a glowing endorsement, calling him a 'soldier' for Thiruvananthapuram.

It is past 10 pm and several tables inside Starbucks are occupied. Dr Tharoor's car with a Congress flag fluttering on the nose of the bonnet, drives in dot on time for the appointment. There is no other vehicle that accompanies him. He sits in the front passenger seat and has a couple of men in the rear.

Dr Tharoor walks into the coffee shop looking cheerful with nary a sign of weariness. He nods at the customers, who are courteous and do not come up to him till after the interview is over. A couple of medical students request pictures with him and he chats with them; it is getting late, but he shows no urgency about leaving. On knowing that they are from Bangalore, he laughs and says that unfortunately he could not ask them for their vote since they are not from his constituency.

Over a cup of hot chocolate, the MP, perhaps the only one in the electoral fray with 25 published books (there are poll hoardings of him with the covers of all his books spotted through the city) took a host of questions from

Part one of a two-part Must-Watch interview:


On how different the 2024 campaign is and if this is his most difficult election:


Why the BJP is vulnerable and will get below 240 seats:


How the electoral bond scam has revealed corruption and bribery:


On 15 years as MP:


On the squeeze on Congress finances and why he does not use that as an excuse:


Videos edited by Rajesh Karkera/
Feature Presentation: Aslam Hunani/