Party sources said a group led by P.K. Krishnadas, general secretary, walked out of the core committee meeting called by party president V. Muraleedharan.

Factionalism in the State unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to the fore during a pre-poll exercise of the party here on Wednesday.

Party sources said a group led by P.K. Krishnadas, general secretary, walked out of the core committee meeting called by party president V. Muraleedharan for forming an election committee and choosing candidates for the coming Lok Sabha elections.

The faction, including O. Rajagopal and P.S. Sreedharan Pillai, national executive committee members; M.T. Ramesh, State vice president; and A.N. Radhakrishnan, general secretary; demanded that the president solve problems such as exclusion of senior leaders from the organisational set-up before reaching a consensus on the nominees.

The Muraleedharan-led faction is supported by K. Surendran and K.P. Sreeshan, both State general secretaries; and C.K. Padmanabhan, national executive member; in the 10-member core committee. K.R. Umakanth, a nominated member of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) to the post of organisational secretary, is the remaining member. This was the third time that party leaders parted ways without discussing the election candidates.

In Wednesday’s meeting, the Krishnadas-led faction criticised Mr. Muraleedharan for attempting to stall the election campaign of Mr. Rajagopal.

Complaints

Discord in the State unit of BJP was evident even before Mr. Muraleedharan took over the reins of the party last year. Recently, Shoba Surendran, party national executive committee member, met national leaders Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj, and Arun Jaitley and complained against the “autocratic style of functioning” of Mr. Muraleedharan.

Her grievance was that many workers either left the party or floated dissident outfits because of the State leaders’ “ineptitude.”

Two days ago a meeting summoned by the RSS in Kochi also witnessed the BJP State leadership facing flak for its incompetence. After Mr. Muraleedharan was re-nominated as party president, the RSS leaders had stated that it would not cooperate with BJP in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. But it changed its stand after the BJP national leadership declared Mr. Modi as the party’s prime ministerial candidate.

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