Dissidence in BJP to the fore

Special Correspondent

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Dissidence in the State unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to the fore with the suspension of the two of its leaders from the party by the State president, P. S. Sreedharan Pillai, on Friday.

Rivalries had intensified in the State unit after the last Lok Sabha elections. There had been personalised attacks and campaigns by opposing camps against Mr. Sreedharan Pillai, the senior leaders O. Rajagopal, P.P. Mukundan and K. Raman Pillai, sometimes in the form of anonymous statements. Though the national leadership of the party had made some efforts to settle the issue, but it did not yield the desired results.

The present developments that led to the suspension of the State committee member J.R. Padmakumar and the party activist R. S. Vinod had its roots in power struggles within the Thiruvananthapuram unit of the party. The agitation launched by the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) over the Kovalam Halcyon Palace issue accentuated the divisions. A section of the party alleged that Mr. Rajagopal and the State leadership of the party did not extend full support to the agitation though the Morcha president was badly injured in police action. Following this, the district unit was revamped excluding a few office-bearers. Mr. Padmakumar's camp alleged that this was done at the instance of Mr. Rajagopal and in disregard to the provisions of the party constitution.

`Not unconstitutional'

The party State general secretary, K. Raman Pillai, however, told presspersons on Saturday that the district unit was revamped as per a decision to revamp all district units, including efficient workers. There was no complaint that reconstitution was unconstitutional.

Mr. Sreedharan Pillai told The Hindu that Mr. Padmakumar and Mr. Vinod had been suspended because they had disrupted the district committee meeting and carried on with a signature campaign against the party leaders.

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