K Raman Pillai had left BJP to float a new party named Kerala Janapaksham, but returned to the BJP in 2016.

Kerala BJP leader K Raman PillaiFacebook/K Raman Pillai
news 2021 Kerala Assembly Election Sunday, March 21, 2021 - 20:24

K Raman Pillai, the senior most leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Kerala, was a former state president of the party (between 1990 and 1994). In 2007, he formed a new political party, Kerala Janapaksham, following differences with the BJP state unit. Prior to that, he had formed a socio-cultural organisation named Bharatiya Janapaksham. However, in February 2016, it was announced that Kerala Janapaksham was being dissolved, and the leaders were returning to the BJP. 

K Raman Pillai was also an active participant of the Janata Party, the erstwhile political  formation that preceded the BJP. He joined the RSS in 1950, and began working for the Bharatiya Jana Sangh in 1954. He was a founder member of the Janata party and the founder general secretary of BJP Kerala unit when the BJP was formed. He was also the BJP state committee president from 1987 to 1993 for two consecutive terms. He then served as a national executive committee member of the party. He is currently a national council member of BJP. 

TNM spoke to the senior leader about the BJPs’ prospects in the upcoming Kerala Assembly elections, the allegations of a secret pact between the BJP and CPI(M) made by RSS ideologue R Balashankar, and the BJP leadership’s attitude towards senior party leaders in the state. 

What is your take on the upcoming Assembly elections? How many seats do you think BJP will win in Kerala?

I cannot say how much growth will be seen in the vote share of BJP, but the vote share of the BJP will increase. There is a possibility for the BJP to win in certain constituencies.

Which are the constituencies where you think BJP has a chance of winning?

In constituencies such as Nemom and Kazhakootam, there is a possibility (of BJP winning). 

You may have heard the recent comments of RSS ideologue R Balashankar alleging a secret pact between BJP and CPI(M) in certain constituencies.

Balashankar only expressed his opinion. Those who see the situation with an open eye can see that there is no such alliance in Kerala.  In the neighbouring Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, and in West Bengal, the Marxists and the Congress are moving together.  In the local body elections of Kerala, they aligned in various places.  In certain places, they teamed up to avert the BJP coming to power. Their goal is very clear as the Congress and the CPI(M) are walking together, thereby joining together against BJP. They Are then levelling allegations against the BJP so as to create confusion among the people.

But the allegation regarding the secret pact between BJP and CPI(M) was made by BJP leader Balashankar. 

In the case of R Balashankar, he tried to be the BJP candidate from Chengannur constituency and worked to that effect. However, it did not materialise. I think he had expressed his protest since that wish was not realised. His comments should not be given any importance beyond that.

Are you categorically ruling out such a pact between the BJP and the CPI(M)?

There is no possibility of such a deal. The BJP is vociferously opposing the CPI(M). It is the Congress who is standing as a help to the Marxists in various places.  Moreover, the BJP members will not allow such a deal. Some isolated individuals may have some doubts. Balashankar reiterated one such doubt. Balashankar has a grievance that he did not get justice. His opinion should only be perceived in that light.

Do you think the BJP state leadership should take a more lenient stand towards Balashankar?

Balashankar is a staunch follower of the RSS. This is not about his credibility. I agree with the opinion that the BJP leadership should have taken a decision in favour of Balashankar. Since the decision was taken in an individual driven way, there may be some distortions. The state leadership may not have liked to field Balashankar from Chengannur when the district BJP president (Alappuzha district president MV Gopakumar) was willing to enter the fray. 

If Balashankar was given the ticket from Chengannur, what do you think of his potential chance to wrest the constituency?

He may win from the constituency. There is a possibility. However, we should not spoil the chances of other constituencies due to the reason that it did not materialise.

There are allegations from a large segment of the BJP leadership that senior party leaders were ignored from being fielded in the Kerala Assembly elections. What is your take on this?

Generally, the stand of the party is not favourable to the senior leaders. The grievance is factual. That aspect should be discussed after the elections and the distortions in that should be rectified.

Do you think the BJP leadership should give more importance to senior leaders in the Assembly elections?

It is a fact that the experiences of the senior leaders were not utilised by the party in the Assembly elections. But the pertinent factor here is the alliance between the Communists and the Congress. But there are certain distortions. I know, I myself have experience. 

Could you please elaborate on the distortions?

The tendency to avoid the senior leaders of the BJP. 

You had severed your ties with the BJP in the past and formed a party called Kerala Janapaksham. Do you think the BJP gave you adequate recognition after coming back? 

I did not get recognition of any kind. I have nothing to say regarding that. However, my stand is that the BJP (in Kerala) should be strengthened. 

But would you agree that when the BJP has grown, those leaders who worked for strengthening the party in the state were ignored?

I agree with that point of view. However, that should be discussed separately. It is a common demand from every segment of the BJP, that it should be discussed. But that should not be discussed near the polling time. It could have been discussed previously. 

Watch: TNM interview with E Sreedharan 

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