Know your leader: Shashi Tharoor (Congress)

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Know your leader: Shashi Tharoor (Congress)
Date and Place of Birth: March 9, 1956 in London

Personal life: Shashi Tharoor was born into a family of academicians. He did his school education from Tamil Nadu and Mumbai and Kolkata. He obtained a degree in history from prestigious St Stephens college in New Delhi and later, he earned an M.A, M.A.L.D and a Ph.D from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in USA. 

Early career: Tharoor joined United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in 1978 as a staff member. During the three decades he worked there, he served as a refugee worker and head of peacekeeping force and as a senior adviser to the Secretary-General.

Tharoor's tenure in UN was extremely remarkable and on 9 February 2007, he resigned from the post of UN Under-Secretary-General to contest to the post of UN Secretary Geberal. However, he lost to Ban Ki-moon.

During his tenure in UN, he wrote three novels which went on to earn several accolades. Also, he has written numerous essays on global issues, cricket and films.

Political Career: After he quit UN, Tharoor returned to India and launched his political career by joining Indian National Congress. In 2009 General elections, he contested from Thiruvananthapuram as a Congress candidate. He won with a whopping margin of 1,00,000 votes. Subsequently, he became Minister of State for External Affairs, the post from which he resigned after several of his Tweets and quotes caused controversies. Also, he was alleged to have misused his office to get shares in the IPL cricket franchise of Cochin.

In 2012, he was inducted into the cabinet again as Minister of State for Human Resource Development. In 2014 January, Tharoor's  wife Sunanda Pushkar was found dead in Hotel Leela Palace in New Delhi. Her death put Tharoor in the midst of another controversy. 

Though was initially reluctant to contest in elections again, Tharoor filed his nomination as Congress candidate from Trivandrum in March 2014. 

Public image: Tharoor is a popular figure in his constituency Thiruvananthapuram, where a major population is highly educated. They find Tharoor's academic profile and professional history impressive. Tharoor, who is a polyglot, is a regular presence in all cultural events in the city. 

In 2009, when he made his entry to electoral politics, Tharoor was slammed by his opponents in and outside Congress for his inability to speak proper Malayalam, the vernacular language. In 2014, as he is preparing for his second run, Tharoor is armed with an impeccable Malayalam. The controversies surrounding Tharoor's personal life have had little impact on his popularity in Trivandrum, according to the local media.

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