The Bharathiya Janata Party (BJP) cadre on Friday resorted to a sit-in hunger strike at the party office on V.K.K. Menon Road in the city, opposing the decision of the party to field former MP C.P. Radhakrishnan for the Coimbatore Lok Sabha seat.
The BJP on Thursday announced a seven party alliance and in which the Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK) will contest in 14 seats, BJP and Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) contesting in eight seats each, followed by Marumalarchi Daravida Munnetra Kazhagam in seven and Indiya Jananayaka Katchi and Kongu Makkal Desiya Katchi (KMDK) in one each.
Even when the seat sharing talks were in progress, many names were doing rounds and strong contenders in the race for the seat were C.P. Radhakrishnan, Party's State secretary G.K.S. Selvakumar, national secretary of the party's trade cell S.R. Sekhar and State general secretary Vanathi Sreenivasan.
On Friday morning, more than 150 party activists staged a sit-in hunger strike urging the high command to change the candidate and announce the party's State secretary G.K.S. Selvakumar as their candidate.
The party’s district president, R. Nandakumar, and district unit spokesperson of the party Kovai Sridharan said in the last ten years, it was G.K.S. Selvakumar who struggled for keeping the party going.
Agitators said Mr. Radhakrishnan was not actively in the party's organisational activities for the last ten years and had always maintained a distance from the grass-root workers. Failure to give the seat to Mr. Selvakumar had brought down the morale of the party workers, they claimed. Repeated attempts to get in touch with the party’s State president and nominee for the Kanyakumari Lok Sabha seat Pon Radhakrishnan went in vain, as he did not answer the phone calls.
When contacted, Mr. Radhakrishnan told The Hindu that such resistance and opposition was quite common in politics. He said the agitators would have had some expectations and disappointment has perhaps resulted in such a protest. Denying charges, he said that he had always been accessible to the party people. “I am on my way from Chennai and said that on Saturday, he would meet the people who are agitated and sounded confident in convincing them to resolve the issue.”