Vellappally visited Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan at his official residence on Tuesday evening.

BJP state leaders are greedy for power Vellappally hints at parting ways joining LDFEzhava International Website
news Politics Wednesday, September 20, 2017 - 20:48

Vellapally Natesan is one of those leaders who attacks opponents, be it political leaders or his counterparts in other caste-based organisations, when he feels that he is getting sidelined. The outspoken General Secretary of the Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana (SNDP) Yogam, has been heading the organisation for decades and is not hesitant to kick off controversies whenever he needs attention.

SNDP is the most powerful organisation representing the Ezhava community in the state. Now speculations are rife that Bharath Dharma Jena Sena (BDJS) - the political party floated by him, is planning to part ways with BJP and leave the National Democratic Alliance.

Vellappally floated BDJS in December 2015, challenging the two major political fronts in the state, the Left Democratic Front (LDF) which is in power and the United Democratic Front (UDF), lamenting about the negligence of the fronts towards his community people. In the past, Ezhava people had mostly shown affinity towards the Left parties and were sceptical when BDJS was formed.

In March 2016, BDJS joined the BJP-led NDA, with an eye on the impending assembly elections. BDJS contested the elections held in May, but didn’t win even a single seat and failed to be a decisive factor in the election. Vellappally, irked by the treatment meted out to him by the BJP in NDA, has been showing signs of discontent for some time now with those differences out in the open now.

The leader, who turned 80 in September, visited Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan at his official residence on Tuesday evening.

The recent point of contention is that BDJS was not considered while allocating posts in the boards and corporations under the Centre. Neither the BDJS nor senior BJP leaders were considered during the cabinet reshuffle, but Alphonse Kannanthanam who has no roots among the party rank and file, was picked up as the BJP’s first minister from the state.

So, what is Vellapally’s plan and is he thinking of quitting the BJP?

Speaking to TNM, he said, “I will think of it if our party’s concerns are not addressed. Why are we in coalition politics? It’s for power. We joined NDA when we were denied opportunities by the UDF and LDF.”

His son Thushar Vellappally has held talks with BJP leaders, the details of which Vellappally is hesitant to divulge.

PIC: Thushar Vellappally FB Page

If BDJS quits, are you open to join LDF or UDF? He said, “Congress leader Hassan has invited us, he is a nice person. But I am not someone who runs to some place simply because they have invited me. When VM Sudheeran was KPCC President, he accused me of making communal statements. The then home minister Ramesh Chennithala booked me on that basis, the court though later found nothing guilty in what I had said. Let Congress leaders issue a public statement saying that I was innocent, only then I will consider joining the UDF.”

What about LDF? You had a meeting with the CM, any invitation from their side? To this, he said, “How can I disclose all these to you.” However, the meeting is being considered in political circles as a hint to BDJS’s entry into LDF.

“The backward community people were not considered while dividing the 150 posts for the boards. Only one Muslim person was given a post, which was a mandatory requirement. The rest of the 149 posts were given from upper caste people only. What is the message then?” he asks.

Vellappally says that BJP leaders in the state are greedy for posts, trying to defeat each other, and are trying to convert the party into a private enterprise. He describes BJP state president Kummanam Rajasekharan as a poor soul who is a sanyasi who doesn’t wear saffron clothes. “Why Alphonse Kannanthanam became union minister, it is because the state leaders of the BJP are incapable of being competent. Even they are aware that the BJP won’t be able to rule the state,” he says.

He adds that by picking a Christian for the ministerial berth, the BJP won’t be able to derive any benefit from the state. “The Christians in the state won’t vote for BJP because of this. What was the impact of making PC Thomas a minister, nothing,” he says. PC Thomas is a Kerala Congress leader who was a minister in the previous NDA government from 2003-2004.

Vellappally expresses his strong displeasure at none of his party members being on the posters of Janaraksha Yathra, a state-wide anti-CPI (M) rally to be led by Kummanam Rajasekharan.

“Names of none of the NDA allies or their leaders are there on the posters of the yathra. The state BJP unit has always been like that. The union government will always highlight it as NDA rule, but when it comes to the state, it’s only BJP not NDA, it has been like this since the beginning,” he says.

Vellappally blames the state BJP leaders for staying aloof from his party. “I had raised the issue with BJP President Amit Shah when he visited the state. He had assured me of addressing this. I don’t think the problem is with him or Prime Minister Modi but with the state BJP leaders. They behave as if they are not allies of BJP in the NDA. But now, I won’t blindly trust promises given by anybody. It’s like dangling a carrot in front of someone,” he says.

When reminded that BJDS didn’t make any impact among the voters in the last Assembly elections, he is quick to point out that what the party did was a big thing. “The vote share of NDA in the state rose to 15 per cent, from where do you think the BJP leaders got votes. I am not ready to argue by projecting the statistics of our vote share,” he says.

The BJP on their part, it is believed, is not ready to come up with a compromise formula that would please Vellappally. The BJP national leadership has by now got convinced about the inability of the caste-based political outfit to rise as an influential power in the state. BDJS didn’t attend the meeting to decide the NDA candidate for the Vengara Assembly bye-election scheduled for October 11.  

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