English News

  • youtube
  • facebook
  • twitter

Sreedharan will give an edge to BJP but can he become the chief ministerial candidate at 88?

BJP upbeat as 'Metro Man' E Sreedharan decides to join the party

The mood within BJP is upbeat as the 88-year-old ‘metro-man’ E Sreedharan announced his decision to join the party. While he is associated most with the success story of the Delhi Metro, the octogenarian has also worked in the restoration project of India’s first sea bridge– Pamban Bridge—connecting Rameswaram to mainland Tamil Nadu. He made news in 2019 when he objected to Aam Admi Party’s proposal to make metro rail travel free for women.

Sreedharan, who has heaped praises on Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying that he has worked closely with him, had also opposed the bullet train project. The bullet train project has been one of Modi’s dream schemes.

While the primary opposition party Congress has been taken aback, BJP is hoping that Sreedharan’s induction in the party will finally give it the much-required foothold in the state.  The southern state is slated to go to polls later during the year.

He has come out strongly against other political parties for "blind opposition" to the BJP which has shown India in a bad light. "Political parties with vested interests are projecting India in a very bad light nationally and opposing just for the sake of opposing. Parties like the Congress are creating a bad image for India", NDTV quoted him as saying.

Gopal Krishna Agarwal, national spokesperson of the BJP said Sreedharan’s coming in is a big boost to the party. “The BJP and RSS have a stronger workers’ base in the state but inorganic leadership was required and Sreedharan’s presence will make a difference,” Agarwal said.

Agarwal noted that Sreedharan is synonymous with strong administration, efficient delivery and corruption-free implementation. “These clearly fit into the Modi ideology,” he said.

Narendra Taneja, energy expert pointed out that metro-man’s credibility is unparallel. “BJP under the leadership of Sreedharan can bring in the change that Kerala is looking for. He is a technocrat who is respected and credible and can deliver,” he said.

However, political analyst Sajjan Kumar said that Sreedharan will not be able to make much of a difference electorally.

“Though BJP will have a perception advantage, it will not translate into votes. The state is into bipolar contest between United Democratic Front and Left Democratic Front,” Kumar said, adding that the development will give a boost to BJP’s image more at the national level than Kerala.

 Sreedharan, who has been won kudos from all political parties, received several awards. In 2001, he was awarded the Padma Shri while in 2008, he received Padma Vibhushan. In 2005, he was also the recipient of the French government’s Chevalier de la Légion. 

Will Sreedharan be the chief ministerial candidate?

Sreedharan is willing to contest the elections and be the chief ministerial candidate.

However, analysts said that his age may become “an issue.” BJP has a clear cut-off age for ministers and chief ministers. “He is too old now,” said Kumar to be the chief ministerial candidate for BJP. 

An insider said that while BJP needs him to boost its electoral prospects, the age factor will come in.

“We have to wait and watch,” an insider said.