E Sreedharan Kerala BJP CM candidate, tweets minister. Then a correction
Defending his tweet, V Muraleedharan later commented that he was under the impression that the announcement to E Sreedharan's candidature was made by the party chief.
Hours after tweeting that E Sreedharan, popularly known as 'metro man', will be the BJP's chief ministerial face in the next month's Kerala state polls, Union minister V Muraleedharan clarified that the party had not taken a decision on it. The state goes to the polls on April 6.
Defending his tweet, V Muraleedharan later commented that he was under the impression that the announcement to the effect was made by the party chief.
"Kerala BJP will fight Kerala polls with E Sreedharanji as its chief ministerial candidate. We will defeat both CPM and Congress to provide corruption-free, development-oriented governance for the people of Kerala," the minister had tweeted.
Watch | Union Minister clarifies after announcing E Sreedharan as BJP CM face in Kerala
However, the minister later told news agency ANI: “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.”
The minister’s earlier tweet that was perceived to the party’s endorsement of Sreedharan’s candidacy was at variance with the BJP’s usual practice of not naming a chief ministerial candidate in a state where it is not in power; and also relaxing its age-bar rule for the 88-year ‘metro man’. Since 2014, the BJP has followed the practice of not giving those 75 and above tickets to contest elections or positions in the government. A few exceptions include Karnataka strongman and chief minister BS Yeddiyurappa and O Rajagopal who is the lone MLA in the Kerala assembly.
While Sreedharan has expressed his keenness to contest and take on the responsibility of the top job, the party has welcomed his entry into the party fold.
Muraleedharan, who is the minister of state for external affairs and parliamentary affairs, earlier told HT in an interview that Sreedharan has been in public service connected with improving living (condition) and issues of livelihood and with his experience the BJP will further progress.
“As for age, he is still very agile and dynamic. Age factor did not apply to O Rajgopal also he was 85 and he contested,” the minister said.
The Kerala unit of the BJP has also thrown its weight behind Sreedharan’s candidature. State unit president K Surendran, also told HT last week that Sreedharan joining the BJP is an indication that “eminent people” see the party as an alternative in the state that is considered a communist bastion.
“We will have more senior and experienced people joining us, because they see the BJP as trustworthy. They are also attracted by PM Modi’s development agenda,” Surendran said.