Dr Shashi Tharoor, who was recently in Auckland for a public speaking engagement at the Auckland Writers Festival between May 16 – 20, and mesmerising the much-receptive audiences with the dose of India’s soft power, also met with the officials of Indian Overseas Congress while in town.

Dr Tharoor is also a Member of Parliament, representing the Congress Party from Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, in the lower house of the Indian parliament, and used the opportunity of being in New Zealand to meet with Overseas Congress Party functionaries.

A group of Indian Overseas Congress New Zealand functionaries, led by President Harminder Singh Cheema and many other enthusiastic party supporters met with Dr Tharoor at a dinner event on Wednesday, May 16.

Dr Tharoor met with the officials and discussed about the range of issues including how to build the appeal of Congress Party’s view of modern India among the Indian diaspora in New Zealand.

Describing the nature of this meeting, Dr Tharoor said on his social media post, “Great to see the NRIs’ enthusiasm for progressive liberal politics at home!”

The key officials of IOCNZ who met with Dr Tharoor included Harminder Partap Singh Cheema, President IOC New Zealand, Deepak Sharma, Brijesh Sethi, Sunny Kaushal, Amir Poonawala, Jaswinder Sandhu, Sahil Kaushal, Narinder Singla, Avinash Heer, Toni Singh, Manoj Sheoran, Blessan Jose and Lovedeep Singh

Speaking with The Indian Weekender, Mr Cheema said, “We discussed about range of issues with Dr Tharoor including the threat on India’s cultural pluralism back home.

“We also delved on how to enhance the appeal of the Congress Party among the Indian community in New Zealand, especially among the youths.”

“However, our immediate focus was on upcoming state elections in three major states of India, viz, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh.”

It is important to note that four states of India, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram are due for elections towards the end of this year.

Indeed, stakes are high for the two major parties in these elections, which would be last elections before the country goes for much anticipated 2019 parliamentary elections.