On Thursday night, 19 March 2009, the Indian National Congress party announced my nomination as its candidate for the Lok Sabha (the Lower House of Parliament) at the forthcoming general elections. I will contest from the capital of Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram (known more familiarly as Trivandrum).
It's a huge turn in my life and involves a further "reboot" two years after leaving the UN. The seat is currently held by the Communist Party of India, which has nominated its general secretary. There are also candidates from the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), a former Congress Member of Parliament, and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), as well an independent candidate who has already outspent the rest of us and whose posters have been plastered across the city. Rumors are circulating of a sixth possible entrant into the fray. Psephologists would have about as much accuracy as astrologers in predicting the outcome of such a complex contest.
Thiruvananthapuram is only about 40% urban - the rest of the constituency, stretching to the southernmost tip of the country, is rural, and includes a large coastal community dependent largely upon fishing. As I embark on this voyage, every cliché about sailing into uncharted waters and choppy seas applies to me.
I will try to provide occasional updates of my progress (or at least my experiences) whenever possible through my campaign website, www.shashitharoor.in [not my "literary" website, www.shashitharoor.com].