A section of the cadres of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Coimbatore unit on Saturday evening ended their more than 24-hour sit-in protest, claiming that senior State leaders of the party had promised to consider their demand to withdraw the candidature of C.P. Radhakrishnan for the Coimbatore Lok Sabha Constituency and name a person from the Coimbatore unit.
The protest, led by district president R. Nandakumar from Friday morning, continued throughout the night and into the second day on Saturday. This forced the State leadership to rush State organising general secretary S. Mohanrajulu and former State president K.N. Lakshmanan to the city on Saturday to end the protest.
Mr. Mohanrajulu, however, told The Hindu that the protesting cadre and the district president were told that even if there were some resentment over the choice of candidate, they should convey it to the “proper authority in a proper way”. “We told them that they could take it up with the authority concerned in the party and that it was improper to go public with their protest. They then called off their protest,” he said. Mr. Nandakumar said, “The senior leaders have assured us that they will consider our demand. Therefore, we called off the protest,” he said.
On Friday, the striking partymen insisted that Mr. Radhakrishnan be replaced with State secretary of the party, G.K.S. Selvakumar.
However, on Saturday, Mr. Nandakumar said the district unit was not projecting a specific person but insisted that a candidate who worked for the party’s development in Coimbatore should be fielded. Mr. Radhakrishnan, who belongs to Tirupur, had not involved in party work in Coimbatore for the last 10 years, he alleged.
Mr. Radhakrishnan won the elections from Coimbatore in 1998 and 1999. He lost to Communist Party of India’s K. Subburayan in 2004.
Sources in the party said they had expected Mr. Radhakrishnan would be fielded only from Tirupur. With the Tirupur seat being given to the Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam, the party leadership fielded Mr. Radhakrishnan from Coimbatore as he had won the elections from this seat twice.