The BJP today announced that E Sreedharan, popularly known as the “Metro Man”, would be the party’s chief ministerial candidate for the upcoming Kerala assembly election. Sreedharan, 88, joined the BJP last week.
BJP state president K Surendran, currently on a state-wide political tour, Vijay Yatra, announced the party’s decision. “The party will soon release a list of other candidates as well,” he said.
Two weeks ago, after announcing his decision to join the BJP, Sreedharan, who has been hailed for his role in setting up the Delhi Metro as a showpiece public transport model, had indicated he was ready to contest the assembly election and be the chief ministerial candidate of the party if the party so wished.
On Thursday, Sreedharan said he had not decided on a constituency. “I am ready to contest in any seat, and victory is sure for me. I strongly believe that BJP will come to power. However, I want to contest from a constituency which is not far away from Ponnani in Malappuram, where I am residing now,” he said.
Sreedharan, who has been the mentor of the Kochi Metro project, said he would not do a conventional door-to-door campaign. “I won’t go to houses and shops soliciting votes. But, my message would reach the voters,” he said in Kochi.
Speaking to the media after completing the final round of inspections at the reconstructed Palarivattom flyover, Sreedharan said that he would continue to oversee the projects as an MLA or in any other post.
“Even if I come, I won’t be in this uniform. Certainly, I will have to oversee projects,” he said, adding, “Be it an MLA or any other post, when a work is underway, I will certainly have to oversee. I will give nomination only after resigning from DMRC.”
“This will be the last day I will be wearing this dress. This is DMRC’s typical outdoor uniform,” he said on Thursday, adding that he first wore the uniform in November 1997 in Delhi, and continued the same practice for 24 years.
Sreedharan is of the view that love jihad is indeed a scourge Kerala in particular and India in general faces by way of Muslim men cheating Hindu women into relationships and/or Islamic marriage to engineer a demographic change in the country. The term “love jihad” was, however, coined by Christians of Kerala in the period 2005-10 — a fact the larger section of news media is loath to talk about.
After Uttar Pradesh Yogi Adityanath said that the Pinarayi Vijayan government was callous towards the plight of Hindus in the state, BJP state president Surendran said if the BJP were to come to power in Kerala, it would bring a law against love jihad.