Everything Ever needs to know about the Political career of Dr Shashi Tharoor in India

Despite criticism that he was an "elite outsider", Tharoor won the elections by a margin of 99,989. He was then selected as a Minister of State in the Council of Ministers of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. On 28 May 2009, he was sworn in as Minister of State for External Affairs, in charge of Africa, Latin America, and the Gulf, including the Haj pilgrimage, and the Consular, Passports, and Visas services of the Ministry. Between 2010 and 2012 Tharoor remained active in Parliament and was member-convenor of the Parliamentary Forum on Disaster Management, a member of the Standing Committee on External Affairs, of the Consultative Committee of Defence, the Public Accounts Committee, and the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Te

Everything Ever needs to know about the Political career of Dr Shashi Tharoor in India
Political career of Dr Shashi Tharoor in India

Tharoor once said that when he began his political career he was approached by the Congress, the Communists, and the BJP. He chose Congress because he felt ideologically comfortable with it.

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In March 2009 Tharoor contested the Indian General Elections as a candidate for the Congress Party in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. His opponents included P. Ramachandran Nair of the Communist Party of India (CPI), Neelalohitadasan Nadar of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), MP Gangadharan of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), and PK Krishna Das of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Despite criticism that he was an "elite outsider", Tharoor won the elections by a margin of 99,989. He was then selected as a Minister of State in the Council of Ministers of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

On 28 May 2009, he was sworn in as Minister of State for External Affairs, in charge of Africa, Latin America, and the Gulf, including the Haj pilgrimage, and the Consular, Passports, and Visas services of the Ministry. As Minister of State for External Affairs, he re-established long-dormant diplomatic relationships with African nations, where his fluency in French made him popular with Francophone countries and their heads of state.

13th Prime Minister of India Manmohan Singh with Shashi unveiling the commemoration plaque of the offsite Campus of Central University of Kerala at Thiruvananthapuram, in Kerala.

Tharoor was a pioneer in using social media as an instrument of political interaction. He was India's most-followed politician on Twitter until 2013, when he was overtaken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Some of his Twitter posts have proved controversial in the past and were highlighted negatively by the opposition and press.

He was also the first Indian minister to visit Haiti after the devastating 2010 earthquake. He reformed the arrangements relating to the conduct of the Haj pilgrimage. He initiated new policy-planning activities on the Indian Ocean and represented India at various global events during his 11-month tenure as minister. In April 2010, he resigned from the position, following allegations that he had misused his office to get shares in the IPL cricket franchise.

Tharoor denied the charges and, during his resignation speech in Parliament, called for a full inquiry. In a 2014 rejoinder he defended his position: "I was never involved in a scam of any sort in the IPL- I was brought down because...[I had] antagonised some powerful political cricketing interests" and added that he had "cooperated extensively with the detailed investigation conducted by the Enforcement Directorate into the entire issue", and no wrongdoing had been found.

Between 2010 and 2012 Tharoor remained active in Parliament and was member-convenor of the Parliamentary Forum on Disaster Management, a member of the Standing Committee on External Affairs, of the Consultative Committee of Defence, the Public Accounts Committee, and the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Telecoms.

He participated in several important debates of the 15th Lok Sabha, including on the Lokpal Bill, the demand for grants of the Ministry of External Affairs and of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, the black money debate, and so on.

In the special debate on the 60th anniversary of the Indian Parliament, Tharoor was one of four members of the Congress Party, including party president Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, and Leader of the House Pranab Mukherjee, to be invited to address the Lok Sabha.

In 2012 Tharoor was re-inducted into the Union Council of Ministers by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with the portfolio of minister of state for HRD. In this role he took special interest in the problems and challenges of adult education, distance education and enhancing high-quality research by academic institutions.

He was responsible for the ministry's written answers to Parliament's questions and responded to oral questions on education during the Lok Sabha's Question Hour. He addressed forums and conferences on education, explained a vision of India's educational challenges in the context of the country's demographic opportunities, and stressed that education was not only a socio-economic issue but also a national security issue.

As Member of Parliament for Thiruvananthapuram, Tharoor became the first elected representative in India to issue annual reports on his work as MP, including furnishing accounts of his MPLADS expenditure.

In 2012 he published a half-term report followed in 2014 by a full-term report. Shashi Tharoor at a march parade with NSUI President Hibi Eden and other Congress workers in Ernakulam, Kerala. In May 2014 Tharoor won his re-election from Thiruvananthapuram, defeating O. Rajagopal of the Bharatiya Janata Party by a margin of around 15,700 votes, and became a member of the 16th Lok Sabha, sitting in Opposition.

He was named Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on External Affairs. Shashi Tharoor was dropped from the post of Congress spokesperson on 13 October 2014 after he praised statements of his party's opponent, Prime Minister Modi.

In regards to Tharoor's removal from the post of congress spokesperson, Kolkata's The Telegraph opined, "For an Opposition MP to have and to exercise the freedom to appreciate a good thing done by the government and for a ruling party MP to speak and vote against the party line is not just legitimate parliamentary practice, it is the very essence of parliamentary democracy. Shashi Tharoor, from the ranks of the Congress, has tried to do that; there is not one BJP MP who has matched him. Blind conformism is not loyalty, nor independent thinking, dissent."

After the BJP victory of 2014, Tharoor was asked to help the treasury benches draft a statement condemning Pakistan for freeing Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, the Lashkar-e-Toiba commander, who masterminded the 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed 166 people.

In January 2015, Tharoor asked not to debunk genuine accomplishments of Ancient Indian Science due to exaggerations of the Hindutva brigade, amid 2015 Indian Science Congress ancient aircraft controversy.

In March 2017, Tharoor called for the Victoria Memorial in Kolkata to be converted into a museum on the effects of British colonial rule in India.

Tharoor wrote in an Al Jazeera article that the British "conquered one of the richest countries in the world (27 per cent of global gross domestic product in 1700) and reduced it to, after over two centuries of looting and exploitation, one of the poorest, most diseased and most illiterate countries on Earth by the time they left in 1947. ...Nor is there any memorial to the massacres of the Raj, from Delhi in 1857 to Amritsar in 1919, the deaths of 35 million Indians in totally unnecessary famines caused by British [policies]".

Although there was significant support for Tharoor to contest as the Prime Minister candidate in 2019 General Elections, he has disowned, downplayed, and distanced himself from any such online campaigns run by his large number of followers.

Tharoor has also attempted to introduce a number of Private Members Bills in the Parliament. Notably, his efforts to amend Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code were voted out by the majority of parliamentarians on two occasions. Interestingly, the Apex court of India later ruled in favor of amending the controversial article in 2018, vindicating the views upheld by Tharoor, thereby.