Expect BJP to be single-largest party, but its tally can be cut to stop it from forming govt: Shashi Tharoor

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Shashi Tharoor

Congress leader Shashi Tharoor (File image)

Kozhikode: The BJP is expected to emerge as the single-largest party in the coming Lok Sabha polls, but its tally can be brought down to a level that its potential allies may no longer be willing to support it and instead back the opposition alliance, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor has said.


While talking about the opposition bloc INDIA, he said India is a diverse country and he is perfectly prepared to live with the situation where they don't have a "100 per cent agreement in 100 per cent of the states".

He was speaking at the ongoing Kerala Literature Festival (KLF) here on Saturday.

"I still expect that the BJP will emerge as the single-largest party. But I do believe their numbers can be brought down to a level where their potential allies required to form a government may no longer be willing to ally with them and may be willing to ally with us. So we have to give it a try," the former Union minister said in a session, 'India: The Future is Now'.


The diplomat-turned-politician also talked about the difficulties related to seat-sharing among parties in the opposition bloc INDIA -- comprising as many as 28 constituents -- and said he only hopes to have "sufficient agreements" in as many states as possible so that "preventable defeats" can be avoided.

While one state can see an agreement amongst all the opposition parties and have one unified candidate against the BJP, another state might have two or three candidates, in which case "the voter has to choose the person they consider would best represent them", he said.

"That's the best thing they can do, and if it so happens, and there is enough divergence of views, maybe the BJP candidate will win. But that's democracy in our first-past-the-post system," he added.


The 67-year-old gave the example of two neighbouring states, Kerala and Tamil Nadu, to buttress his point on why seat-sharing pattern of the INDIA bloc will vary from state to state.

"In Kerala, it is almost impossible to imagine the two major opponents here of the INDIA alliance, namely the CPI(M) and the Congress, ever agreeing on seat-sharing, but right next door in Tamil Nadu, the CPI, CPI(M), Congress and DMK are all allied together and there is no debate, no dispute.

"They already fought the last election together. They are likely to fight this one too," he said.


Ultimately, according to Tharoor, the most important thing that one needs to remind the people of this country is to vote for the best person in their constituency as those chanting the 'Modi, Modi' slogan should know that only the people of Varanasi can vote for him.

"Everybody else has to vote for the best candidate in their places they think represent them well. And if they want to vote only to send Mr Modi that's their choice, if they want to vote for somebody who will be an effective legislature and who has views that are congenial to them, that's also their choice and I think we can do that," he added.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is elected to the Lok Sabha from Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh.

Historian William Dalrymple, Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi, American physician-author Abraham Verghese, award-winning author Perumal Murugan and comedian Kanan Gill were among the 400 noted personalities attending the Kerala Literature Festival, which concludes on Sunday.