THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: V Muraleedharan, BJP national executive member and former state president of the party, will contest the Rajya Sabha elections from Maharashtra. The BJP central leadership announced his name on Sunday.
The Bharat Dharma Jana Sena (BDJS), whose relationship with the BJP has not been smooth in recent times, received a setback as Thushar Velappally was not considered for a Rajya Sabha post.
For some time now, the BDJS had been threatening to pull out of the NDA unless it was given due consideration in the sharing of posts.
Meanwhile, Rajeev Chandrasekhar will contest from Karnataka, according to the decision taken by the BJP central election committee.
Muraleedharan’s nomination also reveals the added attention paid by the BJP central leadership to Kerala. In 2016, the party had nominated Suresh Gopi as a Rajya Sabha MP. Last year, Alphons Kannthanam was appointed a Union Minister.
Known for his oratorial skills and organisational capability, Muraleedharan, 60, hails from Eranjoli, Thalassery. He began his political career with the ABVP. He was elected state organising secretary of the ABVP in 1983, and from 1987 to 1990, he was all-India secretary.
During the 1998 Lok Sabha elections, he was assigned to assist Venkaiah Naidu, now Vice President of India, at the BJP central election control room. From 199 to 2002, he served as vice-chairman of Nehru Yuva Kendra, and from 2002 to 2004, as its director general.
That formally marked his entry into the BJP. From 2006 to 2010 he was state vice- president of the BJP, and in January 2010, he became the state chief at a time when the BJP was striking a growth path in Kerala, which has otherwise been hostile to Sangh overtures. Three years later, by the time he was re-elected, BJP’s vote share had grown markedly in Kerala.
A significant achievement was that he was able to end factional feuds within the state unit and silence the allegations of horsetrading that had plagued the BJP during election times in the past.