Kerala

Power struggle over selection of new BJP chief in Kerala

K. Surendran

K. Surendran   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

RSS likely to pull out from BJP campaign if its suggestions are not heeded

A bitter power struggle between the Kerala unit of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and a faction of the State BJP led by its former president V. Muraleedharan over the BJP’s next State chief has put the party central leadership in a piquant situation.

More than a fortnight after Kummanam Rajasekharan was unceremoniously removed from the post and made Governor of Mizoram, the Central leadership is making attempts to pacify the RSS leadership infuriated over the unprecedented step. A meeting of the RSS held in Kochi had categorically made it clear that the BJP national leadership could decide on the new State president, but the person should be free of factional politics. This comes close on the heels of an alleged power caucus involving Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan and BJP’s national joint organising secretary B.L. Santosh lobbying for K. Surendran, party State general secretary, and a protégé of Mr. Muraleedharan, for the post.

In fact, Mr. Rajasekharan, an RSS pracharak, was assigned to take up the party chief’s post in 2015 to quell the factionalism in the State unit. The RSS State leaders believe that the removal of Mr. Rajasekharan without their knowledge had been aimed at facilitating the elevation of Mr. Surendran, whom they are opposed to.

They have also hinted that the organisation would silently pull out of the BJP campaign for the crucial Lok Sabha polls next year if their suggestions are ignored.

The RSS leadership is planning to recall its nominees — M. Ganesh, organising secretary and K. Subash, joint organising secretary — in the BJP after they reportedly hobnobbed with the Muraleedharan faction. The Central leadership is buying time before taking any decision that would further antagonise the RSS. Incidentally, the RSS State leadership has a soft corner for two other general secretaries, M.T. Ramesh and A.N. Radhakrishnan, both owing allegiance to the faction led by former president P.K. Krishnadas. Also, the names of former State president P.S. Sreedharan Pillai and R. Balashankar, former Editor of Organiser weekly and at present convener of BJP’s Intellectual Cell, both considered to be impartial, are also doing the rounds. A Central team of the BJP, led by secretary H. Raja and Nalin Kumar Kateel, MP, party leaders in charge of Kerala, has already submitted a report to party national president Amit Shah.

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Printable version | Mar 30, 2020 10:34:44 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/power-struggle-over-selection-of-new-bjp-chief/article24159504.ece

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