E Sreedharan, the famed engineer behind popular metro railway projects in India, is set to join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). This was announced by K Surendran, the chief of Kerala unit of the party, at a regular press meet on Thursday.
The 88-year-old is likely to join the party during its Vijay Yatra in Kerala from Sunday and may also contest the Kerala election, due by May, although there are questions about the BJP’s cut-off point of 75 years for elections, applied previously to veterans like LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi.
“I have decided to join the BJP, just official formalities remain,” Mr Sreedharan confirmed to media from his hometown Malappuram.
“I have been living in Kerala for the last 10 years, since my retirement. I have seen different governments and they are not doing what can be done for the people. I am joining the BJP to be able to do my part, using my experience,” he said, explaining the reason he opted for the BJP.
He also criticized other political parties for what he called “blind opposition” and showing 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”, he said.
On his views on the BJP raising alleged “love-jihad” – the term the rightwing uses to target relationships between Muslim men and Hindu women — in this election and its stand on preserving the Sabarimala tradition of barring women between 10 and 50 years, Mr Sreedharan said ,”I believe in the party. This is the reason why I have joined the party. BJP’s stand is correct.”
Mr Sreedharan said he was open to contesting the election if the party wanted.
The BJP has one MLA in the 140-member Kerala assembly and is considered a bit player compared to the ruling Left-led alliance and the opposition Congress-led coalition.