The Kerala unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), in a cosmetic rejig, replaced five district presidents recently. The rejig done with the approval of the Central leadership reveals that core issues affecting the State unit remain unaddressed.
The bitter factionalism between two dominant groups led by Union Minister of State for External Affairs V. Muraleedharan and national executive member P.K. Krishnadas has battered the party not only in its organisational functioning but also in the electoral politics.
In the president-oriented party, the State unit chief as well as the six general secretaries including two loanees from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. (RSS) – M. Ganeshan and K. Subhash – are still continuing in their posts. The structural rearrangement appears to be a pointless exercise which would in fact lead to further power struggles in the party.
On the face of it, the revamp looks to be insignificant even as the Central leadership is rooting for changes at the local levels. Now the Muraleedharan faction holds the upper hand in the party apparatus. The induction of Mr. Muraleedharan into the second Narendra Modi Ministry in May 2019 and the appointment of K. Surendran as State unit president in February last gradually gave this faction strength in the party. Incidentally the term of the incumbent State committee ends next year.
The Central leadership believes that a section of RSS, siding with one of the factions is fuelling the irreconcilable conflicts of the groups. The Assembly polls showed that none of the State leaders had the stature to pull off electoral victories and that only technocrat E. Sreedharan, actor-turned politician Suresh Gopi and retired IPS officer Jacob Thomas could strike a chord with voters.
To refurbish the sagging image of the party, now State treasurer J.R.Padmakumar has been made State secretary while two secretaries P. Reghunath and C. Sivankutty have been made vice presidents. One of the spokespersons B. Gopalakrishnan has also been elevated to the post.
While Palakkad district president E. Krishnadas has been made new treasurer, Kasaragod president K. Sreekanth has been made a secretary, Wayanad district president Saji Sankar was included in the State committee and Pathanamthitta district president Ashokan Kulanada, made Cell Coordinator. The changes include new spokespersons, national council members , a zonal president and a morcha president.
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