The BJP national leadership as well as the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh are reported to be vexed over the wranglings among top party leaders in State over the Pathanamthitta and Thrissur Lok Sabha seats. They fear that the squabblings may affect the party’s prospects in the State.
The hectic lobbying allegedly by State president P.S. Sreedharan Pillai, Union Minister of State for Tourism K.J. Alphons, and general secretaries K. Surendran and M.T. Ramesh for Pathanamthitta, which they hold as a BJP bastion post-Sabarimala agitation, is reported to have surprised the leadership.
While the party cadre in Pathanamthitta have been demanding the candidature of Mr. Surendran, the reported insistence of Mr. Pillai to be fielded from the same segment and Mr. Alphons’s bid to mount pressure on the national leadership terming it as his home turf have all sabotaged the party’s plans to wrap up the candidate selection without much ado.
The lingering differences have dispirited the cadre and such squabbles are likely to have an impact on other segments such as Thiruvananthapuram, Thrissur and Palakkad where the party looks forward to better its performance, compared to the previous election. But for Thrissur and Pathanamthitta most other seats have no takers too.
More importantly, Mr. Ramesh, Mr. Surendran, and Sobha Surendran have expressed their resolve to abstain themselves from the contest if they are denied seats of their choice. Such protests and quest for seats are being cited as unprecedented in a cadre organisation like the BJP.
Which means, the leadership would be forced to alter the list furnished by the State leaders, force the erring leaders to fall in line and contest the seats awarded to them. Such decisions would only deepen the rift within the State unit and further spoil the chances, sources said.
The national leadership’s decision to bring round Bharath Dharma jana Sena leader Thushar Vellappally to contest from Thrissur is expected to work to the advantage of the candidates in certain other segments where the Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana Yoga wields considerable clout.
But the insistence of Yogam general secretary Vellappally Natesan that office-bearers should quit to contest the elections and the recent split in the BDJS and formation of a new group, BDJS (Democratic) have all come as a dampner to the BJP, the sources said.