Junior Education Minister and Congress leader Shashi Tharoor has refuted allegations of meeting pastors and bribing them to garner Christian votes, levelled by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
The BJP and Left Democratic Front (LDF) alleged that Tharoor had violated the model code of conduct.
Reportedly, the BJP filed a complaint with the Election Commission in Kerala based on recordings aired on regional television channel, which showed Tharoor speaking to missionary pastors during campaigning and offering money in lieu of votes.
However, Tharoor called the complaint baseless and considered it an act of revenge.
“This is a channel which in the past has made false accusations against me, and therefore, I had complained about them to the Election Commission. I am assuming this is their sort of revenge which has given ammunition to the opposition parties to raise a completely baseless complaint. I am amused that the parties have apparently decided that they cannot defeat me politically in the election, are trying to get me disqualified through this extremely feeble attempt,” said Tharoor.
Meanwhile, the LDF has accused the Congress leader of meeting pastors of a particular Christian denomination at his home.
“The truth is that every morning before I leave for election work, and every night, often after 11’o clock (IST), when I come back, there is crowd of people waiting for me at home, and I have to see them. There is no way out of that. There are lots of people, there are religious individuals, there are private individuals, there are families, there are all sorts of people who come, and I see them, and sometimes indeed, I discuss politics with them. But anyone who knows me, knows that I am the last person to raise any issue of a religious nature,” Tharoor added.
Tharoor is making his second consecutive attempt to the Lok Sabha and is contesting elections from Thiruvananthapuram.