Rancour in Kerala BJP after organisational shuffle

Several senior state BJP leaders, who are not close to the Surendran-Muraleedharan duo, have been sidelined in the reconstitution of the party organisation, insiders said.

Resentment seems to be brewing in Kerala BJP over nomination of office-bearers to the party’s state and national organisations, a move that has shown the clout of party’s state unit president K Surendran and Union Minister of State V Muraleedharan in party organisational affairs.

On Saturday, senior party leader Sobha Surendran, who has been dropped from the national executive, posted on social media, “I haven’t gone after any positions. I strongly believe I had accomplished all missions the party had entrusted me with in the last three decades. We have examples of several great leaders in India as well as in Kerala who have proved that positions are not required to work among people…”

On Friday, senior leader A K Nazir, BJP’s most visible Muslim face in the state, was suspended from the party after he said that elections are only a means of raising funds for BJP in Kerala. “The party is collapsing under the present leadership. Several senior leaders, such as C K Padmanabhan, have been side-lined. Workers are resentful over reconstitution of the state committee,’’ Nazir said.

Two weeks ago, state unit general secretary M T Ramesh had made a veiled attack on the rival leadership. On the occasion of Deendayal Upadhyaya’s birth anniversary, he had said, “He (Upadhyaya) acted without greed for personal gains…. Memories of Deendayal-ji will enable (us) to regain the forgotten moral consciousness for those basking in the comfort of power.’’

Sources in state BJP said district presidents, without allegiance to any group, were removed and Surendran-Muraleedharan duo filled the slots with their loyalists. Several senior state BJP leaders, who are not close to them, have been sidelined in the reconstitution of the party organisation, insiders said.

“Now all district chiefs, except one, are their nominees,” a source said. “In the state committee also, those close to these two leaders have been made office-bearers. Sobha was dropped from the national executive and P K Krishnadas was demoted from executive member to special invitee. These changes go against the principle of collective leadership and cements the impression that only group loyalty matters in the party.”

In Wayanad, a few district-level leaders on Friday quit BJP over removal of the district president, Saji Sankar, who is seen to have invited the wrath of the state leadership in the scandal related to bribing tribal leader C K Janu to contest as an NDA candidate in the Assembly polls.

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