KERALA

‘A mandate for difference’

Savouring the moment: Shashi Tharoor celebrates his win with jubilant UDF supporters in the city on Saturday.

Savouring the moment: Shashi Tharoor celebrates his win with jubilant UDF supporters in the city on Saturday.   | Photo Credit: — Photo: C. Ratheesh kumar

Staff Reporter

Unfinished projects will get priority, says Tharoor

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In addition to the “State-wide disillusionment” with the Left front, the people’s desire to see a “different sort of face” representing them in Parliament has led to his victory, according to Shashi Tharoor who has been elected to the Parliament from Thiruvananthapuram on Congress ticket.

The race was a complicated affair in Thiruvananthapuram with strong candidates from the Left, the BSP and the BJP, he told The Hindu on Saturday afternoon. The issues and attitudes that he brought to the campaign proved to be a crucial factor. The voters clearly chose to disregard criticisms such as “Tharoor does not know Malayalam.”

“The voters looked at me as a candidate who they could very much relate to,” Dr. Tharoor said, “and this is not just with the city-educated professionals. This is right across the constituency. I was leading in all Assembly constituencies, in the coastal areas, in the villages… everywhere.”

Hunt for dossiers

And what would be his top priority for Thiruvananthapuram? To take up the “dossiers” that have been neglected by the previous MPs. This, he explained, includes issues such as Vizhinjam, the drinking water crisis, the unfinished road development programmes.

His job as MP would be to find out officials in New Delhi who are responsible for the timely completion of such programmes and find out how they can break this logjam.

“After that there are many new and ambitious ideas I have which would take more time to pursue. Trying to find more international partners for Thiruvananthapuram in terms of ‘twinning,’ trying to attract more institutions of higher learning to the city… you can read about this in my web site,”

And would Thiruvananthapuram get a foreign minister in a UPA government? Whether other responsibilities are given to him or not, his primary responsibility is as an MP and he would be judged on his success on that count, Dr. Tharoor added.

Sampath’s plans

The pressing need for a welfare scheme for those who left the country in search of jobs was uppermost in the mind of A. Sampath, the victorious CPI(M) candidate from Attingal.

He told The Hindu that getting the Central government to institute a welfare scheme for such people would be his top priority.

In southern Kerala the largest number of such people hail from the Attingal parliamentary constituency, he pointed out.

He would press the Centre to adopt the ‘Kerala Model’ of welfare schemes for NRIs, Mr. Sampath said.

What with the Technocity and the IISER coming up at Attingal, the constituency is in urgent need of good road, better rail connectivity, water supply schemes… All this requires long-term planning and as MP he plans to coordinate the actions of the State government, the Centre and those of the local bodies on these fronts, Mr. Sampath said.

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