But party insiders said he was forced to withdraw his comments after the central leadership expressed serious reservations about them.(PTI)
But party insiders said he was forced to withdraw his comments after the central leadership expressed serious reservations about them.(PTI)

BJP names Metro Man as its Kerala CM face, then retracts

  • K Surendran, the state BJP president who made the original announcement claimed he was quoted out of context.
By HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Thiruvananthapuram, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON MAR 05, 2021 01:32 AM IST

For a few hours on Thursday, E Sreedharan, 88, was the Bharatiya Janata Party’s chief ministerial candidate in the coming assembly elections in the state, as announced by the party’s state president and confirmed by a Union minister from the state — before both walked back their comments.

Now, in keeping with its norm of not naming a chief ministerial candidate in states where it isn’t in power, the BJP will fight the polls without a chief ministerial face. Elections in the state are to be held on April 6.

K Surendran, the state BJP president who made the original announcement claimed he was quoted out of context. He said that in the course of the press conference on Thursday he only said Sreedharan was competent enough to be the state’s chief minister. “I was quoted out of context. Such announcements will be made by the parliamentary board of the party.”

But party insiders said he was forced to withdraw his comments after the central leadership expressed serious reservations about them.

And minister of state for external affairs, V Muraleedharan who earlier lauded the decision in a tweet also backtracked and claimed his tweet was based on media reports. “BJP will fight the poll with E Sreedharan as its chief ministerial candidate. We will defeat both CPI(M) and INC to provide corruption free, development oriented governance for the people of Kerala,” he said.

“I cross-checked with party president who said he has not made any such announcement. My initial comment was based on reports appeared in media,” he added.

Sreedharan (88), former head of the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), joined the party formally on Feb 25. He will be fielded from a seat either in Kochi or Thrissur, though he earlier said he preferred his district, Palakkad.

Reacting to Surendran’s original comment about being the chief ministerial candidate, Sreedharan said he would take on any work entrusted by the party.

Political analysts believe Sreedharan’s entry will give a boost to the BJP in Kerala, where it is a distant third behind the Congress-led UDF and the CPI-M led LDF.

“No doubt, his entry will be an image booster for the party but it remains to be seen how this will be translated into votes,” said political analyst Sunnykutty Abraham. The votes will be counted on May 2.

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