Shashi Tharoor is a Congress politician and currently a Member of Parliament (MP) from Thiruvananthapuram. He also serves as Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on External Affairs.
Tharoor began as a career diplomat with the United Nations and went on to become its Vice-Secretary General. After contesting an election to the Secretary General's office unsuccessfully in 2006, he left the multilateral agency. He secured the Congress ticket from the Thiruvananthapuram Lok Sabha constituency in 2009 amid a lot of opposition from the Kerala wing of the party. Tharoor won the election and was made a Minister of State for External Affairs in the Manmohan Singh Cabinet in the United Progressive Alliance I (UPA I) government. Despite being embroiled in a host of controversies, related to sweat equity in an Indian Premier League team and the suspicious death of his wife Sunanda Pushkar, Tharoor won a second term in 2014.
Tharoor has kicked up quite a few controversies over the years. When Pranab Mukherjee initiated an austerity drive during UPA I, the former diplomat was found staying in a 5-star hotel for weeks. On Twitter, he ruffled feathers when he said he "would travel cattle class out of solidarity with all our holy cows".
He was in the news a couple of years ago after he won a debate at Oxford arguing that the British must pay reparations to its former colonies.
The author of 18 bestselling works of fiction and non-fiction, Tharoor has been a vocal critic of the Narendra Modi government. He also penned a book recently about the failures of the present dispensation at the Centre.
As he is quite popular among the urban youth, it will be interesting to watch how well he can pull that section of the electorate towards the Congress in Kerala.