Shashi Tharoor is a writer, former diplomat, and Congress MP from Thiruvananthapuram. His latest book — The Less You Preach, The More You Learn, co-authored with Joseph Zacharias — offers over 200 aphorisms on various aspects of modern life.
In this conversation with Abhinandan Sekhri, Shashi talks about his book, the women’s quota bill, parliamentary proceedings, and the INDIA alliance.
Shashi says the Women’s Reservation Bill has been rewritten by the BJP government to mandate census and delimitation exercises before its implementation, pushing it to “the indefinite future”. “In politics, an indefinite future is as good as saying maybe never.”
The legislator from Kerala points out that the delimitation exercise will make the five southern states “politically completely irrelevant” and “disempowered” while concentrating political power in the Hindi belt.
On the workings of Parliament, the Congress MP says the BJP does not “desire to take the opposition along”, which has undermined the tradition of parliamentary committees working collegially. He also says certain minorities are “being demonised in ways that are unacceptable”, and the government’s one nation, one election proposal is “anti-democratic”.
Finally, on the opposition INDIA alliance, the Congress leader explains how it’s a united front at the centre despite complex dynamics among parties in the states. The alliance parties agree on big questions, but need to soon devise a “common programme”.
Text by Anu Jakhar.
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