Aristocratic and flamboyant, Shashi Thaoor is a multi-faceted personality who has excelled as diplomat and writer but his political stint has been marked by controversies as he makes a comeback to the Union council of ministers.
Joining Congress shortly after his return from the United Nations where he served as Under secretary general, Tharoor won a sterling victory in the Lok Sabha polls in 2009 from Thiruvananthapuram.
He was straightaway made a minister of state in the ministry of external affairs, though it proved to be short stint as he was forced to resign amid a controversy over allegations pertaining to his role in Kochi IPL team.
Born on March 9, 1956 in London to Keralite parents Chandran Tharoor and Lily, Shashi had his education in Tamil Nadu, Mumbai and Kolkota before graduating in History from St Stephen’s College, Delhi.
He later took his masters from abroad and completed Phd before joining the UN as a career official.
India lobbied strongly for Tharoor's candidacy to the office of the UN Secretary General but he lost to Ban Ki-moon. He then returned to India and joined the Congress, with the blessings of the top brass of the party, on the eve of the last Lok Sabha elections.
He was handpicked for the Kerala capital seat by the party high command, much to the envy of many in the state unit. Though a man of letters and sophisticated in choice of words, Tharoor often ran into controversies like his comment on travelling "cattle class," which sparked strong protest even from his own party.
An avid cricket fan, Tharoor ran into trouble amid allegations that he had sought "sweat equity" for his future wife Sunanda Pushkar from the franchisee of the Cochin IPL team.
With his detractors within the party and opposition using it as a weapon to fell his rising stock in politics, Tharoor resigned as minister.
Tharoor's literary output includes the widely acclaimed The Great Indian Novel and The Five Dollars Smile and other stories.
A prolific columnist who writes with equal felicity on a variety of topics ranging from literature to high diplomacy, Tharoor has also produced non-fiction works like India from Midnight to Millennium.