Shashi Tharoor calls out Congress’ Jaipur candidate for alleged links with website mocking the party

Congress MP Shashi Tharoor on Saturday criticised the party for giving a Lok Sabha elections ticket to Sunil Sharma, who is allegedly associated with the right-wing platform The Jaipur Dialogues.

Sharma’s candidate from Rajasthan’s Jaipur constituency was announced on Thursday as part of a list of candidates for the general elections.

“He must have undergone some sort of Pauline epiphany on the road to 24 Akbar,” the Lok Sabha MP said in a social media post on Saturday.

Tharoor also shared a post from The Jaipur Dialogues account that had allegedly mocked him and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.

Sharma and his family have had a long association with the Congress. He is also the chairman and chancellor of the Suresh Gyan Vihar University in Jaipur.

The Jaipur Dialogues, which describes itself as a platform for the “right thinking people” was launched in 2016 by retired Indian Administrative Service officer Sanjay Dixit. Its YouTube channel has posted videos mocking the Opposition.

Sharma has been featured in some videos posted on the channel. On November 5, Sharma was a panellist on a debate hosted by The Jaipur Dialogues on “Digital Divide in India – AI and Civilisation”.

However, Sharma has distanced himself from the platform.

“I have never had anything to do with the management of the Jaipur Dialogue YouTube channel,” he said in a statement. “I am often invited on all news channels and YouTube channels as a panellist on building an inclusive India as per the Congress philosophy.”

Sharma said that The Jaipur Dialogue’s YouTube channel had invited him to speak on various social issues to express the Congress’ vision.

He added, “I have long ago severed ties with the directorship of Jaipur Dialogue Forum (which has nothing to do with the ownership of YouTube) about which some people, due to their vested interests, are spreading rumours.”

Sharma is listed as one of the directors of The Jaipur Dialogues, The Indian Express reported citing publicly available information on websites that collate such data.

Congress renominates candidate who lost to Modi twice

The Congress has fielded its Uttar Pradesh chief Ajai Rai from the Varanasi Lok Sabha constituency for the third time against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Rai is a former member of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and convener of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s student wing. He had left the BJP in 2009 after he was denied a Lok Sabha ticket.

Rai lost to Modi in 2014 and 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

In Madhya Pradesh, the party has fielded veteran leader and Rajya Sabha MP Digvijaya Singh from Rajgarh and former Union minister Kantilal Bhuria from Ratlam. In Uttar Pradesh, former Bahujan Samaj Party leader Danish Ali will contest for the Congress from Amroha.

Ali, who was suspended from the Bahujan Samaj Party in December, joined the Congress on Wednesday.

In Tamil Nadu, the Congress has fielded former Indian Administrative Service officer Sasikanth Senthil from Tirvallur, replacing sitting MP K Jayakumar. The party has renominated Karti Chidambaram from the southern state’s Sivaganga constituency.

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