Mumbai: Congress MP from Thiruvananthapuram Shashi Tharoor has said, he will consider retiring from politics "either in 2024 or after five or six years".
Replying to questions in Rajat Sharma's show 'Aap Ki Adalat', which telecasted on 3 June on India TV, Tharoor said, "I am not the kind of politician who will stay in politics till the end. When you start feeling that you are not able to bring a big difference in people's lives, then I would like to either watch cricket, read books or spend time with grandchildren. When that time comes, I will decide. Maybe in 2024 or five to six years later. I have already made up my mind."
On whether he would accept some leaders' proposal to become the Congress CM candidate in Kerala, Shashi Tharoor replied: "I will examine all options. The people of Thiruvananthapuram have reposed their trust in me and I will not betray them. If I have to become a candidate, I will have to serve them. About the second prospect, if I get a chance to lead the party and bring some changes in my state, it will be a good conclusion to my political journey (yatra). But to decide on that, I need time, and obviously, I will have to listen to my party's opinion. I will have to listen to other people's opinions too, and then I will take a decision."
On Rahul Gandhi's recent remarks in the US about India's domestic issues, Shashi Tharoor said, personally he would never like to speak about India's domestic issues in foreign lands, but, at the same time, he sought to defend Rahul Gandhi by saying that Rahul never sought foreign help to solve domestic issues.
"He (Rahul) never said that. The allegation is incorrect. Rahul Gandhi Ji said, our democracy has so many challenges. At the same time, he also said, it is the responsibility of ours, not others, to solve them. You must understand that if India remains democratic, it will be beneficial for the whole world. But he never asked outsiders to come and help us."
The Congress MP said, it was Prime Minister Narendra Modi who first mentioned India's domestic issues on foreign shores. Tharoor said, "I have been saying since years, India's foreign policy is not Congress' or BJP's foreign policy. Our foreign policy is based on India's interests. In the Parliamentary Standing Committee on External Affairs, I said in this spirit. Look, we can have political differences, but they end on our country's borders. Our differences must not reach outside. But it is also a fact that BJP and Modi Saheb broke this policy first. Modi Saheb had said in foreign lands that nothing has been working good in our country till now and those who governed our country badly for 60 years never created a sense of pride so that people could say that they are Indians. Modi Saheb started giving this type of speeches in foreign lands. I was surprised. Never did our Prime Ministers spoke about Indian politics in foreign land. Modi Ji started all this."
Tharoor also said that no Indian politician should criticize our Prime Minister abroad. He said, "I want to tell this, I never levelled personal allegation against anybody, neither against Modi Saheb nor against anybody else. But in our democracy, we have to give respect to a position, because people have elected our Prime Minister. Till the time, that person occupies the position of Prime Minister, he must be given respect. We can be political adversaries here in India, but when we go abroad, he is our Prime Minister. I never criticize him abroad."
Sunanda Pushkar’s death
After a long time, Shashi Tharoor spoke on the legal problems he had to face after the mysterious death of his wife Sunanda Pushkar in a hotel in 2014. Tharoor was exonerated from all charges, including abetment to suicide, by a Delhi trial court in 2021.
Tharoor said, "I never speak personally about politicians, but I have two or three persons in mind, whom I will never forgive. They knew it was a lie, and yet they continued telling lies. It's not possible to forgive."
The Congress MP spoke about his relationship with Sunanda Pushkar. He said: "It was a relationship of love. Naturally. Look at the arrangement, between a Kashmiri Pandit and a Keralite. We married after falling in love, but some people tried to make political use of her death. I had to go to courts for many years, and at last the judge threw out the case saying "it is all 'bakwas', there is no evidence of suicide, no evidence of murder. The judge discharged me saying there is no case at all. The case must end."
Shashi Tharoor said, "Imagine how one would feel. Those who know me personally, know I cannot attack anybody. I never raised my hand even on a child. Her two brothers, and the only son, they were all with me and told me, we know it can't happen. But outsiders, who never knew us, found a political opportunity. In early stages of our politics, such attacks or remarks against anybody's personal life was never considered appropriate. Nobody used to comment on other politician's private life. So many people knew about Vajpayee Saheb's private life. They used to talk among themselves but never used the media. But I think, nowadays our culture has changed, and that too, for the worse."
On his reported differences with Sunanda Pushkar before her death, Tharoor said, "If you read her tweets, you will know, it was not so. She had some mental issues. One day, she used to write a loving tweet and the next day, something else. She was never a bad girl, she was mentally ill. (Woh bilkul bhi buri ladki nahin thi, beemar ladki thi.) One should have some sympathy for her. I said in Parliament, when the bill relating to mental health was brought, that you can offer sympathy to a person who has a broken leg, but there is no sympathy to a person who has a mental breakdown. This is very sad."