'Metro man' E Sreedharan set to join Bharatiya Janata Party
Elattuvalapil Sreedharan, the man behind India's expansive and ambitious metro rail project in Delhi, is expected to join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) next, he announced on Thursday.
Sreedharan, who is leading a semi-retired life in his ancestral home in Ponnani (Malappuram) district, confirmed the report.
“It is true, I will join the BJP. I have been staying in the state for last ten years and observing political climate. Both fronts, ruling LDF and opposition UDF, are interested furthering their organizations," the 88-year-old said.
Explaining his entry and politcal debut, he said, "The state has immense potential, but development takes a backseat always. If I can do something positive, I will be happy,” he said.
Sreedharan said that he found the BJP different from other parties. He said party state leaders had approached him last week and he agreed to their suggestion. When asked whether some central leaders have called him, he refused to comment.
“They suggested me to contest in the upcoming assembly election. I agreed to this also. It is for the party to decide where I should contest,” he said. The veteran engineer said he will be into healthy politics and not interested in mere mudslinging or gimmicks.
Wielding enough respect and standing, his entry will be a big boost to the saffron party in Kerala where the party remains a distant third-runner.
Sreedharan retired as chief of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) on December 31, 2011.
The Indian engineer acquired the sobriquet of the 'Metro man' of India after he oversaw the launch of the metro rail project - a showpiece of the modern urban infrastructure.
Sreedharan's entry into ruling Bharatiya Janata Party comes ahead of the state's legislative assembly elections this year as the party faces a bitter fight with the Kerala's chief minister-led Communist Party of India (Marxist) - a key player in alliance of United Democratic Front (UDF).
The 88-year-old helmed the affairs of the DMRC since its inception and played an instrumental role in the completion of the project within the budget and well ahead of schedule.
Delhi Metro uses some of the most advanced technology in the field of civil, electrical, signalling and telecommunication engineering worldwide.
Delhi Metro started its services in 2002, and has increased its network to about 389 km with 285 stations (including Noida-Greater Noida Corridor and Rapid Metro, Gurugram) in record time. The rail connectivity has boosted the idea of public transport in the national capital as the network is used rapidly by millions every day for office, school, business and daily commute.
The network connects people of the National Capital Region (NCR) to Delhi by including stations in Noida and Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh, Gurgaon, Faridabad, Bahadurgarh and Ballabhgarh in Haryana.
The Delhi metro makes 2,700 trips per day with average daily ridership at 2.86 million, who on an average travel a distance of 17 kilometres each, the rail network had said in its release.
The DMRC served 100 crore riders in the financial year 2019-20.
Born on June 12, 1932 in Palakkad district of Kerala, Sreedharan has been among the driving force behind some of the most successful railway and metro projects in India. To his credit, he also has the successful construction of Konkan Railways - the largest rail project in India after independence by linking the west coast of India.
Sreedharan graduated from the Government Engineering College, Kakinada, and later joined the Indian Railways in its Service of Engineers.
He has been conferred several honours, including the country's fourth highest civilian award Padma Shri in 2001. The Time magazine named him an Asian Hero in 2003.