‘Metro Man’ Sreedharan makes surprise exit from active politics

Asked if he was leaving politics due to any regrets, E Sreedharan said that when he joined the BJP in March, he felt the party had good prospects in Kerala but that situation has now changed
A file photo of celebrated engineer E Sreedharan, hailed as ‘Metro Man’. (HT archives)
A file photo of celebrated engineer E Sreedharan, hailed as ‘Metro Man’. (HT archives)
Published on Dec 16, 2021 04:06 PM IST
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E Sreedharan, hailed as “Metro Man” for spearheading New Delhi’s Metro railway project, announced his retirement from active politics on Thursday, much to the surprise of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Kerala unit.

The celebrated engineer made the announcement while addressing reporters in Ponnani, his native town in Malappuram district.

“Defeat in the assembly elections [in Kerala in April] made me wiser. When I lost, it made me sad. But now I realise that even if I had won, nothing could have been done. I was never a politician. I remained a bureaucratic politician for some time,” Sreedharan said, adding that he had made a late entry into politics but his exit wasn’t late.

“I am 90 now. I can’t run around like a youngster. I am associated with three different trusts and I will spend the rest of my time with them,” he said.

Asked if he was leaving politics due to any regrets, Sreedharan said that when he joined the BJP in March, he felt the party had good prospects in Kerala but that situation has now changed.

“The party will have to do enough to get a foothold in the state. I mentioned that in my report to the party president after the election debacle. I don’t want to discuss those things now,” he said.

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After the party lost in the assembly polls, in which it even conceded its lone seat at Nemom in Thiruvananthapuram, the central leadership sought a report from Sreedharan, who himself had lost from Palakkad. He was beaten by sitting Congress legsislator Shafi Parambhil in a three-way contest.

“My short stint in politics… I am leaving neither disgusted nor contended. You can call it a late entry and an early exit. I will serve the people for the rest of my life through the three bodies that I am associated with,” he said.

The BJP’s state unit expressed surprise over his exit from active politics. “We heard about this in the media. He will be around, and we will seek his guidance and advice on key issues,” said BJP state president K Surendran.

It was Surendran who had announced that Sreedharan was joining the BJP earlier this year. “He is our CM candidate. His entry has given the party fresh energy and vigour,” Surendran had said at that time.

Apart from being fondly called “Metro Man”, Sreedharan also played a key role in establishing the Konkan Railway and rebuilding the Pamban rail bridge in Rameswaram, which was destroyed by a storm in 1964.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Ramesh Babu is HT’s bureau chief in Kerala, with about three decades of experience in journalism.

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Tuesday, May 24, 2022