2024 Lok Sabha Election Results LIVE: Shashi Tharoor Becomes 4-Time MP From Thiruvananthapuram After Rajeev Chandrasekhar Concedes

The battle for Kerala's 20 Lok Sabha seats is of particular interest in this election, given the BJP has never won a Lok Sabha seat in the southern state.

2024 Lok Sabha Election Results LIVE: Shashi Tharoor Becomes 4-Time MP From Thiruvananthapuram After Rajeev Chandrasekhar Concedes

BJP leader Rajeev Chandrasekhar (L) and the Congress' Shashi Tharoor (File).

New Delhi:

Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor has won the Thiruvananthapuram Lok Sabha seat in Kerala for a fourth consecutive time after his rival, the BJP's Rajeev Chandrasekhar, conceded defeat.

"It was a very tight fight till the very end. I must congratulate both Rajeev Chandrasekhar and Pannian Ravindran (the Left candidate) on having fought so well and improving their parties' performance... I am glad that in the end, voters of Thiruvananthapuram once again decided to repose their faith in me... I look forward to fulfilling their trust and working very hard for this constituency," he said.

In a post on X (formerly Twitter), Mr Chandrasekhar declared himself "deeply grateful" to the city's voters and the "many karyakartas (party workers) for your warmth, affection, and support over the campaign of the last 51 days". "This is not the end of a campaign but the beginning of a new chapter and partnership for all of us and our shared vision for a better tomorrow for Ananthapur(am)," he said.

Mr Tharoor eventually won by 16,077 votes after starting the day trailing to Mr Chandrasekhar.

Exit polls had suggested Mr Chandrasekhar will defeat his rival.

In 2009 Mr Tharoor defeated the CPI's P Ramachandran Nair by nearly one lakh votes, and polled over 14 per cent more. In 2014 he edged the BJP's O Rajagopal by fewer than 16,000 votes. Five years later the margin was much healthier; Mr Tharoor thumped the BJP's K Rajasekharan by one lakh votes.

In April Mr Tharoor had questioned the campaign strategy of the ruling Left front, which is an on-paper ally of the Congress-led INDIA bloc but is contesting as a rival in the state. Mr Tharoor admitted long-standing variations in political ideologies could mean parties allied in one state may be rivals in another.

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But, speaking to NDTV after casting his vote, he underlined the point that the Left and the Congress were fighting for the same side. "When we are fighting an election to change the government in Delhi... this is a national election. The objective is to defeat the Bharatiya Janata Party," he said.

READ | "Is This Friendly Match?" Shashi Tharoor's Jab At Left Over Poll Tactic

He was referring to the CPI, which is part of the INDIA bloc, but has fielded a candidate of its own for the seat. It has also fielded a candidate - senior leader Annie Raja - against Rahul Gandhi in Wayanad.

Mr Gandhi won his contest too, beating Ms Raja by 3.64 lakh votes.

Rajeev Chandrasekhar Poll Affidavit Row

During campaigning the Congress leader also took a jab at Mr Chandrasekhar, over controversy related to his poll affidavit, which said his taxable income for FY2021/22 was only Rs 680. The Congress had filed a complaint with the Election Commission.

READ | "Irony Died When...": Minister's Jibe At Shashi Tharoor In Affidavit Row

Mr Chandrasekhar had explained that his taxable income "sharply reduced because of partnership losses incurred during the Covid period". Dismissing the Congress' "obvious attempt to distract voters from the main issues of progress, development, jobs, and investments...", he also took a double jibe - one at the party's "first family (a reference to the Gandhis)" and another at Mr Tharoor.

Kerala Lok Sabha Election

The battle for Kerala's 20 Lok Sabha seats was of particular interest in this election given the BJP has never won a Lok Sabha seat in the southern state. Today, however, that jinx was broken.

Actor Suresh Gopi has won the Thrissur seat by beating the CPI's VS Sunilkumar by 74,686 votes.

READ | On 2nd Attempt, Actor Gets BJP Its 1st-Ever Lok Sabha Seat In Kerala

Exit polls gave the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance one seat, and predicted a big win - 16 seats - for the Congress-led United Democratic Front. The ruling Left Democratic Front was given three.

In the 2019 election, the UDF won 19 seats with a vote share of 47.48 per cent. The LDF, or the Left Front won a single seat, despite being the ruling party in the state.

The BJP got only 15.64 per cent of the total vote share.

The reality wasn't too far from the expectation; the Congress won 14 seats and its INDIA allies, the India Union Muslim League got two, while the RSP, and the Kerala Congress got one each.

The CPM, contesting apart, got one.

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