After lying vacant for more than three months, the post of BJP Kerala president has finally been filled with the party zeroing in on K Surendran as its state chief, the young BJP leader infamous for his flagrant remarks. In a statement released by BJP on Saturday, it stated that national president of the party Jagat Prakash Nadda appointed K Surendran as the state president of the party, with immediate effect.
The post of Kerala BJP president had become vacant after its former chief Sreedharan Pillai was appointed as the Governor of Mizoram in October 2019. Ever since, the BJP had been looking for a leader who could lead the party in the state.
K Surendran, was already widely tipped as one of the frontrunners for the post. A native of Kozhikode district, Surendran’s stature in the party and among the public rose as he became the aggressive face of Sabarimala protests that rocked the state, following the 2018 Supreme Court verdict which allowed women of all ages to enter the hilltop shrine. K Surendran had led fierce and violent protests against the verdict, across the state.
Infamously known for his communally inciteful remarks, choosing K Surendran as the party’s Kerala chief can possibly be viewed as the BJP’s strategy in order to establish its roots in the state.
In a recent controversial remark, he had stated that anti-CAA protest in Kerala resembles the Malabar rebellion (armed uprising against British in 1921 in northern Kerala), and said that a particular community will be attacked during the protests, adding that extremist outfits are carrying out the protest in the state. When a section of shopkeepers in Kozhikode district protested against BJP’s pro-CAA meet by closing down their shops in January, K Surendran had gone to the extent of terming it a ‘Taliban-like’ move.
Earlier in 2019, when authorities were having discussions on whether to allow a blind elephant to parade in the famous Thrissur Pooram, Surendran had given a communal tinge to the discussions by saying that there is a ‘conspiracy to destroy the famous temple fest’, when in reality, it was a matter of safety.
Most recently, Surendran was embroiled in a row after he called Kerala journalists who were detained by Mangaluru police while covering anti-CAA protests, as ‘fake’. Sharing a screenshot of the false news on Facebook, he said that the reporters were in fact protesters and that they were carrying arms.
Talking to media soon after the announcement of his appointment came on Saturday, K Surendran said that though Kerala is not an easy ground for BJP, he is optimistic about the party’s growth in the state.
“There are no apprehensions. The present circumstances in the state demand a lot more work from the party. In the context of the Citizenship Amendment Act, a lot of fake news is propagated against the party in Kerala. We have been successful in rectifying it to a large extent,” he said.
K Surendran also said that there is no factional tussle in the party. “The declaration was delayed because of technical problems, there were Delhi polls in between. Apart from that, there is no tussle between anyone in the party.”
BJP leader MT Ramesh was the other name which was discussed for the post along with K Surendran’s.