Catching the political spotlight in the midst of the heated political race, well-renowned engineer Sreedharan, who is better known as the 'Metroman', has on Friday opened up about his political intentions and revealed that his main aim is to help BJP come to power in Kerala, which is one of the poll-bound states preparing to host the assembly polls in three months.
Sreedharan is all set to join the Central ruling BJP next week and in what has become a significant development for the saffron camp in its bid to find a local face for the party in the polls, Sreedharan has also divulged that he is ready to serve as the Chief Minister of Kerala after BJP comes to power in the upcoming polls. The Metroman has emerged as a strong critic of the Kerala ruling LDF and advocating that the state needs a change and must maintain a good relationship with the Central government.
By revealing his aim of bringing BJP to power in Kerala, Sreedharan said that his focus will be on developing infrastructure in a big way and rescue the state from the debt trap if BJP wins the polls. Speaking to PTI, an 88-year-old octogenarian said that he will contest the upcoming elections if BJP gives him a ticket and he is also ready to take up the role of Chief Miniter if the party wishes for. He said on the phone call with the agency, "My main idea is to bring BJP to power in Kerala. If BJP comes to power in Kerala, there will be three to four major areas we want to focus".
When asked about whether he is ready to take the Chief Ministership, Sreedharan said, "If they want, certainly. To tell you very frankly, unless I am the Chief Minister these priorities cannot be achieved". He pressed that he won't be taking up the governorship even if the party wants as the governorship is purely a constitutional position and no powers at all and that he won't be able to make any positive contribution to the state in such a position.
Sreedharan said that a finance commission can be established in the state for the purpose of improving the finances of the state, which has been caught under a debt trap. He stated that Kerala has so much of borrowings and a debt burden on each Malayalee is Rs 1.2 lakh today which had displayed that the state is heading towards bankruptcy and the government still continues to borrow. When asked about why he had decided to join BJP, Sreedharan said that he wants to do things for the benefit of Kerala as the UDF and the LDF have not been able to bring any tangible progress to the state.
He said, "Why I chose BJP is for a different reason. The two others in Kerala -UDF, and LDF have been ruling Kerala alternately. They have not been able to bring any tangible progress to the state, not even one industry has come to the state in the last 20 years". "They were having tussles with the Central government all the time. The two governments are not able to see eye to eye on many matters. The development of the state is suffering. If the BJP comes to power here (Kerala), they will have a good rapport with the Government of India", Sreedharan added as he mentioned the differences between the Center and the state ruling party.
He further said, "All the responsibilities taken up by me are coming to an end. I thought I will give time for the benefit of Kerala state. That is possible only if I enter politics. Do something for the state". According to reports, Sreedharan will most likely be joining the BJP on February 25 and said that he was entering the political fray. The party is yet to react on whether Sreedharan will be given a ticket to contest in the polls.
Elattuvalapil Sreedharan, a native of Karukaputhoor, Palakkad district in Kerala, is an Indian Engineer, popularly known as the Metroman, who is credited with changing the face of public transport in India with his leadership in building the Konkan Railway and the Delhi Metro, while he served as the Managing Director of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation between 1995 and 2012. He was conferred with the Padma Shri award in 2001 and the Padma Vibhushan in 2008. He was named as one of Asia's Heroes by Time Magazine in 2003.
Sreedharan was appointed by the former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon to serve on the UN's High-Level Advisory Group on Sustainable Transport for the period of three years in 2015. According to reports, his entry into the BJP has been seen as a major boost for the Central ruling party to have a political breakthrough in Kerala by ousting the regime led by the Left Democratic Front.