Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) National Executive Member and General Secretary in Kerala, Sobha Surendran, has been in the eye of a storm after she reportedly bought a car worth many lakhs.
The matter gained traction, especially as the state BJP is facing allegations of corruption. Recently, BJP leaders were accused of taking massive bribes for getting Medical Council of India accreditation for colleges.
Several users on social media questioned how Sobha, a local politician, could afford a car. Some drew parallels to the criticism Adivasi activist and NDA candidate CK Janu faced when she bought a Toyota Etios car a few months ago.
Janu had then come out and explained how she had saved money over the years from farming.
After several Facebook posts questioned where she got the money to buy an expensive car, Sobha too appeared on a Facebook live in the last week of July to rubbish them.
She said that her husband Surendran had a job, although he is a Yuva Morcha activist. It was with the money earned through this job, by running a business and doing farming, that Surendran runs the household, Sobha argued. At the time they got married in 1995, although her family was poor, Surendran's family was well-off, Sobha said.
"Although these rumours do not warrant a reply, I feel I must make my stand to the people who support me. My husband takes care of the family- even now- with the money he gets from his work. So, we are not a couple who are into politics and living in luxury. In fact, I have used a lot of the money that my husband earned for the party," Sobha said.
People interested in knowing her income source must visit her (maternal) house in Thrissur district and see the condition, said Sobha.
According to her election affidavit submitted during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Sobha had declared a total of Rs 20,272,10 in assets (Rs 17 lakhs in immovable assets and Rs 3,27,210 as movable assets). She had also declared that she has zero financial liability.
"My house has been there even before the NDA came to power in the past, and even now it remains in the same condition. As far as my income source is concerned, I disclose my assets during election time. Now what you should be doing is to find out the details of assets owned by Congress and the Marxist leaders," Sobha said.
But the controversy just refuses to die. A Facebook post written by a user named Jenujanardhan Mookkuthala, who claims to be Sobha's neighbour, in response to her video has gone viral.
The man claims that though he lived just few kilometres away, he was totally unaware of the business Surendran runs.
In a sarcastic post, Jenujanardhan, who lives in the UAE, wrote:
"I am upset with you since you hid from us the fact that Surendran had business and also does farming. When I visit home the next time, please show them to me. Because, itâ€™s a shame that as your neighbour, I don't even know what kind of business Surendrettan does! He owns not more than 3.5 cents of land. Why are you saying he no ancestral property?â€ť, the man asked.