For BJP leaders in Kerala, Muraleedharan’s Rajya Sabha nomination is a token of appreciation of the party’s efforts in the state.

Rajya Sabha ticket for V Muraleedharan a recognition for Kerala BJP
news Politics Monday, March 12, 2018 - 11:29

In the list of 18 nominations for the Rajya Sabha polls released by the BJP’s Central Election Committee, one of the names was that of V Muraleedharan, a senior leader from Kerala.

While the former BJP state president’s nomination itself was no surprise for the BJP in Kerala, what was eagerly awaited is the information about where Muraleedharan would contest from.

The list, announced late on Sunday, revealed that the Kerala leader would contest the RS polls from the state of Maharashtra. Out of the 18 nominations, Narayan Rane and Muraleedharan have been chosen to contest from Maharashtra.

Apart from Muraleedharan, another Keralite who figures in the list is MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar, who will contest from Karnataka.

59-year-old Muraleedharan is a national executive member of the party and has previously served as the BJP president in Kerala. Starting off as an RSS worker, later joining the ABVP, where he held the post of general secretary for years, Muraleedharan has had an active presence in the party at the national level. 

Muraleedharan’s work even at the national level is precisely the reason why he was chosen to contest for a Rajya Sabha seat, sources in the state BJP told TNM. According to a source in the party, it was important for the BJP to accommodate Muraleedharan in a post that befits his years of work at the national level. Muraleedharan served as the state BJP chief from 2010 to 2015, before making way for Kummanam Rajasekharan. 

His nomination comes at a time when the BJP is hoping to make inroads in the state. Currently, the party has only one MLA in the state assembly – O Rajagopal from Nemom in Thiruvananthapuram. Rajagopal was an RS member from Madhya Pradesh from 1992 to 2004.

For BJP leaders in Kerala, Muraleedharan’s nomination is a token of appreciation of the party’s efforts in the state.

BJP Vice President MT Ramesh told TNM: “The nomination of V Muraleedharan is a recognition for the work done by the BJP’s Kerala unit. After the NDA government came to power, there were complaints that there is no recognition for the party’s work in Kerala. With this that concern has been addressed.”

Ramesh believes that the work of a leader like V Muraleedharan, who has long years of party experience based in Delhi, will be beneficial for the party’s work in Kerala.

Advocate Jayasankar, a political commentator, observed that this was the first time since the NDA came to power at the Centre that they have fielded someone from within the party for RS polls.

“By nominating Muraleedharan, the BJP has considered someone who played a decisive role in building up the party in the state. It was expected to happen earlier. After the NDA government came to power, it is now for the first time that someone from within the party is given the recognition. The other people the party nominated in the past, like Alphons Kannanthanam, actor Suresh Gopi and Richard Hay, were all ‘guests’,” advocate Jayasankar said.

Blow to BDJS 

With the BJP naming Muraleedharan for the RS polls, the long-standing demand of the BDJS to give an RS ticket to Thushar Vellappally, its chairman, remains side-lined. 

BDJS, which is an ally to the NDA in Kerala, has been rallying to secure an RS ticket for party chairman Thushar. This, after the disgruntled BDJS showed visible signs of being unhappy with the NDA, complaining that they did not receive any benefits for allying with the party. SNDP supremo Vellappally Natesan has many a time dropped hints of pulling out of the alliance if their demands were not met. 

In the past few weeks regional media had speculated that the BJP would give an RS ticket to Thushar as a means to pacify the BDJS. It was speculated that Thushar would be fielded from Uttar Pradesh.

Advocate Jayasankar said: “By nominating Muraleedharan, the BJP is again playing with the card of OBC politics, which it projects from Narendra Modi to many others. It is difficult to give a seat to the BDJS as the priority should be for BJP leaders when it comes to sharing of seats. The BDJS can now expect some posts like head of a corporation or something similar. Also the attitude of Vellappally Natesan keeping one leg in the Left boat as well might have acted against his party.”

The RS nomination list has been announced at a time when the Chengannur bye-poll in Alappuzha district is to be held. For the BJP, winning the Chengannur bye-poll holds high stakes, as it will be seen as a visible result of the party’s work in Kerala. 

The BDJS has already called for an emergency meeting on March 14, in which the party is expected to take a decision on exiting the NDA. With official confirmation that the BJP has picked Muraleedharan for the RS polls, all eyes will now be on the BDJS.