‘Inclusiveness, wide acceptability should be key qualities of new BJP state president’

In an interview with TNIE, Rajagopal said he has conveyed his view about the qualities required for the new president when his opinion was sought on the matter by the party’s national leadership.
O Rajagopal
O Rajagopal

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: With the BJP all set to announce a new state president for its Kerala unit, the party’s veteran leader O Rajagopal is of the view that only a leader who is ‘inclusive’ and ‘acceptable’ to all sections can manage the organisation effectively and more importantly, achieve significant electoral gains for the saffron outfit.

In an interview with TNIE, Rajagopal said he has conveyed his view about the qualities required for the new president when his opinion was sought on the matter by the party’s national leadership. The views of Rajagopal, the state’s lone MLA from the saffron camp, assume significance as the party would face two crucial tests - the civic polls and the assembly elections in a span of little over a year. “BJP is a party that is nationalist, all-inclusive and forward-looking. It is this aspect that needs to be projected by the new leader. The new president should have the ability to take everyone together. Also, he or she should have zero tolerance towards corruption,” said Rajagopal. Adopting a hardline stance can make the cadre happy but won’t ensure a win at the hustings, he underscored.

The frontrunners

The outgoing general secretaries who are considered front runners for the top job - be it K Surendran, Shobha Surendran or MT Ramesh - are seen as proponents of hardline Hindutva and their 'acceptability' across all sections may be a topic of debate. However, many senior leaders have told TNIE about the possibility of the central leadership going beyond these "front-runners" and springing a surprise as they had done in the past.

It is reliably learnt that former state presidents who served only one term or have not completed even a single term, are also in the reckoning. In that scenario, the mantle may once again fall on P K Krishnadas or Kummanam Rajasekharan though the latter is not at all keen to take up the post. The names of A
N Radhakrishnan and K P Sreeshan had also figured prominently in the preliminary discussions.

Dangerous situation’
According to Rajagopal, the “misinformation” spread on Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) by both the CPM and the Congress and instilling a sense of fear and insecurity among minorities for electoral gains were posing a big danger to society.  “Both the CPM and the Congress are blowing up the apprehensions of the minority communities and they are doing it in a very calculated manner. Besides, the LDF Government is adopting a very aggressive and confrontational attitude against the Centre which would harm the interests of the state in the long run,” the veteran leader said.

Rajagopal said the Congress was once experts in minority-appeasement politics, but now the Left seems to have surpassed it in this aspect. “Minorities have lost their confidence in the Congress. The CPM is trying its best to cash in on the issue. But winning over the minorities by a few catchy slogans or speeches won’t be an easy task for them,” he added.

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