Protest against ‘sidelining of top leaders’ by State president

Unsurprisingly, the factional feud in the State unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is getting hotter following the announcement of the State office-bearers and the district presidents.

The alleged sidelining of top leaders by State president V. Muraleedharan has set the tone for an acrimonious power struggle within the faction-ridden party.

A few of the newly appointed office-bearers, including State general secretary A.N. Radhakrishnan, vice presidents M.T. Ramesh and Rema Reghunathan, have decided not to assume charge of their posts until their conditions are met.

They wanted the central leadership to declare the new list null and void and the proposals made by the Rashtriya Sweyamsevak Sangh (RSS) adopted without any modification.

There are 22 office-bearers – one president, four general secretaries, eight vice presidents, eight secretaries and one treasurer – in the State unit. Seven posts are reserved for women and three for Scheduled Castes/ Scheduled Tribes. Currently 12 posts have been announced.

National secretary P.K. Krishnadas, who is leading the fight, already met the national president Rajnath Singh in New Delhi on Wednesday. It is learnt that he would apprise Mr. Rajnath in Goa on Friday of the “explosive situation” in the party, besides the growing chasm between the BJP and the RSS in the State.

Sources close to Mr. Krishnadas said that Mr. Muraleedharan took an arbitrary stand in announcing the names of office-bearers. The president ignored the list of the RSS proposing to make the former national council member M.T. Ramesh as one of the four general secretaries by replacing K.P. Sreeshan.

None of the senior leaders such as M.S. Kumar, Radhakrishna Menon and Krishnanath Pai, who is the incumbent State treasurer, figure in the list. Instead an unfamiliar M.R. Rajagopal has been made the State treasurer, the sources said.

A senior functionary said that Mr. Muraleedharan paid no heed to the directives of the central leadership to take into confidence senior leaders before appointing State office-bearers and district presidents.

A committee formed in this connection served no purpose. Even senior leader O. Rajagopal was not consulted. Incidentally, he came to know of the list of office-bearers through the media.

The rift in BJP State unit is not new. However, group leaders flocked together to take on Mr. Muraleedharan. Subsequently the State RSS led by its Prantha Karyavahak P. Gopalankutty and Prantha Pracharak P.R. Sasidharan objected the move to reappoint Mr. Muraleedharan in January.

A reason cited was his “undiplomatic” and “autocratic” ways in running the affairs of the party. Even then he was nominated as RSS leaders failed to communicate timely to the BJP central leadership on the warring factions.

As of now, the RSS has adopted a wait-and-watch approach over the developments in the party. But the wholehearted support the Krishnadas-faction enjoys from the RSS could make matters worse for the BJP in the State, especially when the Lok Sabha elections are due in less than a year.

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