Wrangling within the BJP over State president K. Surendran’s ‘Stalinist’ style of functioning and sidelining of long-time party workers in favour of upstarts came to the fore at the State executive meeting here on Friday.
Party core committee members O. Rajagopal and C.K. Padmanabhan and vice president Shobha Surendran remained absent from the meeting held in the presence of the newly-appointed party Kerala in-charge C.P. Radhakrishnan to discuss the party’s strategies for the local body polls. A section of leaders asked if it was prudent to press ahead with the campaigning paying scant regard to a group of leaders, including Ms. Surendran painting them in public as “power hungry”.
The BJP desires to secure 8,000 wards in the local body polls — a quantum leap from its present tally of 1,500 — which a senior leader told The Hindu would be impossible to attain with rival factions at loggerheads. Meanwhile, some senior leaders, speaking on conditions of anonymity, said the executive meeting, held on the heels of a virtual meeting last week, signalled the central leadership’s desire to quell infighting. “The prabhari (in-charge) is sure to intimate the central leadership of the state of affairs and try to broker peace,” the source said.
Those opposing Mr. Surendran for ignoring about a number of State-level leaders and over 1,500 district, panchayat and constituency-level leaders, said the process of consultative decision-making had become a thing of the past. “The core committee doesn’t meet nor does the election committee, but decisions are taken at factional meetings,” a leader said.
With the party machinery having taken a backseat, senior RSS leaders spoke to Ms. Surendran two days ago seeking ways to bring her around. A leader said that the protest raised by her was not just an individual’s. “That a large group of committed, long-term workers got a raw deal was a ‘collective’ issue.”M