With the assembly polls in three Southern states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Puducherry are just a month away, the Central ruling BJP has been vying the prospects to enjoy the political breakthrough as the assembly polls will be crucial for the saffron camp to establish a significant party base in these three states.
While BJP has been in talks over seat-sharing in Tamil Nadu with the ruling party ADMK and working towards finalizing the alliance in Puducherry, the Central ruling party has taken a major leap in Kerala as it has announced the Chief Ministerial candidate. Taking everyone to surprise, the Kerala BJP unit has on Thursday said that Metroman E Sreedharan, who recently joined the party, will be the Chief Ministerial candidate for the NDA alliance in Kerala.
Addressing a party meeting in Kerala on Thursday, BJP Kerala President K Surendran said that the unit has requested the party's national leadership to name Sreedharan as the CM candidate in the upcoming elections. Surendran said, "Under the leadership of Metroman, we are confident we will be able to implement development works under Prime Minister Narendra Modi". The state BJP President had underlined the projects done by Sreedharan and the accolades he received. The state president said that Sreedharan had completed the project of reconstructing of Palarivattom flyover here in five months much ahead of the expected time.
Surendran was addressing at the party event organized as part of the 'Vijay Yatra' and he said that Sreedharan had completed the flyover project in five months without any corruption and added that this was the reason why the state unit of BJP had requested the Center to pick him as the CM candidate. The surprise announcement from Kerala BJP has marked the first time that the party had indicated that Sreedharan will be the CM candidate for NDA.
Metroman Sreedharan had recently caught the political spotlight in the midst of the heated political race after he publicly asserted that he is ready to take the role of the Chief Minister in Kerala if BJP comes to power in the state. He made this assertion last month while he was speaking to PTI about his political prospects. Sreedharan revealed that his main aim is to help BJP come to power in Kerala. He made this statement a week ahead of officially joined BJP.
His entry has brought more significance to the BJP in its bid to find a local face for the party in the 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. 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.
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. Union Minister V Muraleedharan, who belongs to Kerala, took to Twitter on Thursday and said, "@BJP4India under the able leadership of PM Shri @NarendraModi Ji will strive to take care of the needs of the People of Kerala. The New Kerala under E Sreedharan Ji will pave the way for an efficient & effective Govt in the state". However, the Central leadership of BJP is yet to make an official announcement of declaring Sreedharan as the CM candidate for Kerala. Kerala will be going to the polls on April 6 and the results will be announced on May 2, 2021.
@BJP4India under the able leadership of PM Shri @NarendraModi Ji will strive to take care of the needs of the People of Kerala.— V Muraleedharan (@VMBJP) March 4, 2021
The New Kerala under E Sreedharan Ji will pave the way for an efficient & effective Govt in the state.
What I wanted to tell was that through media reports I learnt that the party has made this announcement. Later, I cross-checked with the party chief who said that he has not made any such announcement: V Muraleedharan on his statement on E Sreedharan pic.twitter.com/anMBbkiPlw— ANI (@ANI) March 4, 2021