Issues over nominating State office-bearers, district chiefs

After a brief spell, trouble is brewing once again in the faction-ridden Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) State unit over the proposed nomination of State office-bearers and districts presidents.

The Rashtriya Sweyamsevak Sangh (RSS), with the support of a section led by newly appointed BJP national secretary P.K. Krishnadas, has opposed State president V. Muraleedharan having a free run in the organisational set-up of the State unit.

Its leadership feels that his ‘autocratic style functioning’ has affected the party at the grassroots level.

Sources told The Hindu on Monday that the RSS had already put forth a list of names for various posts. It wanted to appoint former national council member M.T. Ramesh as one of the four general secretaries by replacing K.P. Sreeshan. RSS wants the latter to be one of eight vice-presidents. It has also sought to weed out the ‘unpopular and inefficient’ district presidents of Kozhikode, Malappuram, Palakkad, Kottayam, Idukki, Pathanamthitta, and Kollam, party sources say.

The BJP Central leadership had asked Mr. Muraleedharan to take into confidence senior leaders before appointing State office-bearers and district presidents after the RSS opposed his nomination in January. A committee formed to look into the issue has not been able to find consensus.

The committee, comprising senior BJP leaders O. Rajagopal, C.K. Padmanabhan, K.R. Umakanth, (organisational secretary of the BJP), RSS Prantha Karyavahak P. Gopalankutty, and Prantha Pracharak P.R. Sasidharan had met five times. The Krishnadas faction, which accepted the list put forth by the RSS, says it will not take part in talks anymore.

The love-hate relationship between the RSS and the official faction of the BJP has led to the inordinate delay in announcing the list of office- bearers. This is also the first time in the history of the party that the announcement of the office-bearers is getting postponed and that too by more than three months after the appointment of the State president.

A senior party functionary says Mr. Muraleedharan will have no option but to announce the list before the national executive committee meeting of the party to be held in Goa in the first week of June.

The RSS has given an ultimatum that its cadres will not cooperate with the BJP in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls if Mr. Muraleedharan takes an arbitrary stand. It had previously decided to pull out Mr. Umakanth, its nominee to the post.

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