As if setting up a “pro-development anti-corruption platform” in Kerala for the coming assembly elections, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) state president K Surendran announced in Kozhikode on Thursday that ‘Metro Man’ Elattuvalapil Sreedharan is set to join the party.
Surendran said that the 88-year-old who played a vital role in the completion of India’s ambitious metro rail project in Delhi, within the budget and well ahead of schedule, will join the BJP soon.
The entry of Sreedharan, who is a living legend for a large section of society for his simple living, dedicated service to the nation, and a spotless career with his impeccable track record as an able administrator, comes as a shot in the arm for the state BJP. Especially as it faces a bitter fight with the Communist Party of India (Marxist)-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) and the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) in legislative assembly elections that are about 100 days away.
Sreedharan, a native of Ponnani in Malappuram, acquired the sobriquet of the ‘Metro Man’ of India after he supervised the metro rail project: a showpiece of modern urban infrastructure. He retired as chief of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) on December 31, 2011.
“It is not a sudden decision. I have been in Kerala for the past decade and wanted to do something for the state. I alone cannot do things. BJP is different and that’s why I joined the party,” Sreedharan told the Malayala Manorama.
The technocrat who advised the Kerala government on many major infrastructure projects in the state said he will now end the practice. “I will focus on BJP-centric activities,” he said.
“I have been living in Kerala for the last 10 years. I have seen the UDF and LDF rules. I feel that these rules have not brought any tangible benefits of progress to the state. A lot of things are possible in terms of industrialization. Not even one industry in the state in the last 20 years. The BJP has got a better possibility of bringing industries here, particularly when the GoI is also a BJP government. If the BJP wants, yes, I will be a candidate, Hope to play a major role in the elections this year,” he told News18.
Jacob Thomas, even though he was a senior IPS officer in the state, was sidelined by the UDF as well as the LDF, mainly for his anti-corruption stance. He had told the media that he would contest the forthcoming Kerala assembly elections as a BJP candidate. “The party will decide which constituency to contest. The CPM-led LDF and Congress-led UDF have failed to develop the Kerala state,” Thomas had added.
Four years ago, some political observers had hinted at a major political role for Sreedharan following the controversy over the omission of his name from the list of dignitaries who would share the stage with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the Kochi Metro inauguration on June 17, 2017.
However, Sreedharan had downplayed the controversy by stating that there was nothing unusual in the decision of not being invited on the stage as such restrictions were usual in a program being attended by the prime minister.
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