Thiruvananthapuram, Oct 2 (IANS) Even a week after Team Nadda was constituted, the anger over the poor representation of veteran BJP leaders from Kerala still persists in the saffron party here.
Former organising secretary and popular senior leader of the BJP in Kerala P.P. Mukundan said it was most unfortunate that party leaders who have been slogging for years have been ignored in the rejig.
“Those who came to the party in recent times are being preferred to those who have sweated out in the party for long. This does not augur well as numerous leaders who have served jail terms for the party are there and they did it with utmost commitment. These are people who came to the party with no pre-conditions and hence such people should not be ignored,” said Mukundan, who had left the party in 2006 but returned a few years later.
One BJP leader whose inclusion in Team Nadda has raised eyebrows is former CPI-M Lok Sabha member and former Congress legislator A.P. Abdulla Kutty, who has been given the post of national vice-president.
Fifty three-year-old Abdulla Kutty began his political career with the CPI-M’s student wing.
He achieved prominence by defeating present Kerala Congress chief Mullapally Ramachandran twice – in 1999 and 2004 – from the Kannur Lok Sabha constituency.
In 2009, the CPI-M sacked him from the party amid mounting differences and also because he praised Modi’s Gujarat development model.
He won the Kannur Assembly by-election in 2009 as a Congress candidate and repeated his victory in 2011, but in 2016, lost the polls from the Thalassery seat and after that he went into limbo in Congress politics. In 2019 he joined the BJP.
Soon he was made the vice-president of the Kerala unit and on Saturday got elevated as a national vice-president.
Among the other Keralites who got posts is Tom Vadakkan, a former Congress spokesperson who hails from Kerala but is based in Delhi and businessman turned Rajya Sabha member from Karnataka, Rajeev Chandrasekhar.
In Kerala the BJP is caught between the factions of Union Minister of State for External Affairs V. Muraleedharan and P.K. Krishna Das and at times their differences come out in the open, which has been a cause of displeasure of the national leadership of the BJP.
The reshuffle has come as a setback for Kerala based senior leaders including former Mizoram Governor and former Kerala BJP president Kummanam Rajasekharan and P.K. Krishna Das respectively.
Sobha Surendran is another leader to have missed out and as a protest, she has practically gone silent.
She was expecting a big post as she is one of the top BJP women leaders in the state and is known for her razor sharp tongue.
Another senior Kerala BJP leader who has occupied crucial posts at the national level, but missed out is R Balashankar, a former editor of the RSS journal Organiser.
Balashankar is known for his close ties with various social groups in Kerala and also the Church. On a few occasions in the past, his name was doing the rounds for the state president’s post, but for some reason he always lost out at the last minute.
Playing down the discontent was Central minister from Kerala, Muraleedharan, who said that there were no issues and all leaders, including Shoba, were active in the party.
State general secretary M.T. Ramesh also said that when there is a national rejig it is done at the national level and the state units accept it.
Meanwhile, sources in the BJP said there could be another reshuffle and a few leaders who had missed out are likely to be included.