Disenchanted with the Assembly poll debacle of its political arm, a section of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has sought the Central leadership to rejig the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Kerala unit.
The development comes close on the heels of a few members of the BJP State core committee shooting off emails to national president J.P. Nadda and Union Home Minister Amit Shah seeking to free the Kerala unit from the K. Surendran – V. Muraleedharan axis. (Mr. Surendran is State unit president and Mr. Muraleedharan, a two-time State chief, is the Union Minister of State for External Affairs).
Coincidentally with these protests, a section of BJP State leadership has also pointed out the authoritative control and interference of the RSS in the party. And they also believe such intrusions into party apparatus led to the party’s shoddy electoral performance.
Senior BJP leaders said that the party never before had lost its credibility since the allegations of vote-trading through its maverick political experiment CoLeBi (short for Congress-League-BJP) alliance in the 1991 Assembly polls. It was after the 2004 Lok Sabha polls, the voteshare of the party saw a steady swing in the State and finally won a seat, Nemom, in the 2016 Assembly polls.
However, party sources said that the situation of the BJP in the State was similar to that in 1991 polls. The vote-share of the party had drastically come down in 90-odd assembly constituencies the just-concluded elections.
These disgruntled leaders have also sought the Central leadership to take a critical look in the functioning of the State unit. The imperious style of functioning of the front-line leaders and their high-handed decisions had dented the image of the party at the State and national levels, they said.
The party could not get even an internationally reputed technocrat E. Sreedharan elected from his home-town of Palakkad. The poor performance of the party in these assembly polls revealed that the general public was unhappy with leadership of the Kerala unit, sources said.
Incidentally, the two groups now prevalent in the party – one led by former president P.K. Krishnadas and the others led by Mr. Muraleedharan – were interested in dividing the spoils of power. Such a quid pro quo arrangement had been going on for a long time, the leaders said.
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