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Metro Man Sreedharan Won't be BJP's CM Candidate in Kerala? Union Minister's Remark Stokes Confusion

File photo of E Sreedharan

File photo of E Sreedharan

Union minister V Muraleedharan claimed to have 'cross-checked' with party's state chief K Surendran on the announcement, who said that 'he has not made any such announcement'.

After tweeting ‘Metroman’ E Sreedharan, who recently joined the BJP, will be its chief ministerial candidate for the Kerala assembly elections on April 6, Union Minister V Muraleedharan clarified on Thursday that the party has not made any such announcement. Muraleedharan, who tweeted in this regard earlier, clarified, saying he wanted to inform that through media reports he learnt that the party has announced Sreedharan as the chief ministerial candidate.

But when he cross-checked with Kerala party president K Surendran, he said he has not made any such announcements, Muraleedharan, who is also a former BJP state president, said. In his tweet, Muraleedharan had said..”BJP4Keralam will fight Keralapolls with E Sreedharan Ji as its Chief Ministerial Candidate. We will defeat both CPIMKerala & INCKerala to provide a corruption-free, development-oriented Governance for the people of Kerala.” His social media post on Sreedharan’s leadership in the Assembly polls came hours after Surendran said he has requested the party’s national leadership to announce ‘Metroman’ as the NDA’s chief ministerial candidate.

Referring to Muraleedharan’s clarification tweets, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor took a dig at the BJP, saying the saffron party was “confused”. “Hilarious! BJP4Keralam manages to be confused about who will occupy the top floor of a building that will never be built. There will be no BJP CM in Kerala,” Tharoor tweeted.

The development comes on a day the 88-year-old technocrat announced his decision to end his 24-year long career with the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) to enter electoral politics. Earlier, Surendran, who is leading the party’s Vijay Yatra said, if the NDA “under the leadership of ‘Metroman’, gets an opportunity to rule the state, “we are confident we will be able to implement development works under Prime Minister Narendra Modi with a ten-fold force in Kerala.” Addressing a party meeting in Thiruvalla, Surendran highlighted the achievements of Sreedharan, including the completion of the reconstruction of Palarivattom flyover here in five months, much ahead of the stipulated time.

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“He completed the project in five months without any corruption. That is why we requested Sreedharan and our party leadership that he should be projected as the (NDA’s) Chief Minister candidate,” he said at the meeting organised as part of the “Vijay Yatra” led by him. This was the first time the party indicated that Sreedharan will be the NDA’s chief ministerial candidate.

The party sought to project Sreedharan’s leadership in the polls amid the process of determining the candidates for the assembly election. Sreedharan has said his main aim was to help the party come to power in Kerala and that he will be open to chief ministership.

He has also said the focus will be on developing infrastructure in a big way and bring the state out of the debt trap if the BJP wins the assembly polls. Meanwhile, the curtain came down on his 24-year long career with the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation as he wore the DMRC’s outdoor uniform one last time on Thursday ahead of his political journey with BJP.

“This will be the last day I will be wearing this uniform,” Sreedharan, acclaimed for his efficiency in completing big infrastructure projects, said announcing the completion of re-construction of Palarivattom flyover here under his supervision much ahead of the stipulated time. Clad in the DMRC outdoor uniform, the technocrat visited the flyover in the morning for an inspection before handing it over to the Roads and Bridges Development Corporation (RBDC) of the Kerala government for the inauguration.

He said the flyover, whose reconstruction was taken up in September last year, was ready and the state government can decide the date of its inauguration. “I wore the DMRC’s typical outdoor uniform for the first time in November 1997 in Delhi. The same practice I continued for the last 24 years,” Sreedharan said.

The ‘Metroman’, who is all set to contest the assembly polls on the BJP ticket, said he will file the nomination papers after resigning from the post of DMRC’s Principal Adviser. Sreedharan, now a member of the BJP state Election Committee, said he has requested the party leadership to field him from a constituency not far from his residence in Ponnani in the Malappuram district.

Predicting a big victory for the BJP in the polls, the technocrat said his poll campaign style will be different from that of a normal politician. “This is a digital age. So I will not be going from house to house or shop to shop (seeking votes). But I will reach every home, every person in the constituency with a message–what I am doing for the state,” he said.

Sreedharan said he will showcase his professional competency and integrity among the voters for winning their support. He said his age has not affected his health.

“Mentally I am very strong. I will not be working as a normal politician. I will still be working like a technocrat,” Sreedharan said in response to a query on his age. Sreedharan expressed confidence BJP will form the government in the state after the polls.

“People know very well what is good for them and what is good for the state. I am very confident that they will elect the BJP to power,” he added.

first published:March 04, 2021, 19:26 IST