THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The lacklustre performance of the BJP in the local body poll has triggered demands from within the party for removal of K Surendran from the state president’s post. The election results, which were much below expectations, has prompted factions led by PK Krishnadas and Sobha Surendran to approach the central leadership demanding a change of guard in the state unit.
According to a source, the rival factions have written separate letters to the central leadership stating that fighting the upcoming assembly election under Surendran’s leadership would prove detrimental to the party’s interests.
They said the saffron party’s vote share which had been steadily increasing with each election has now recorded a dip of over 1%. The rival factions pointed out that the BJP could clinch the top spot only in local bodies falling under its sitting assembly seat -- Nemom. If the party had clinched the second spot in seven assembly constituencies in 2016, it has now been reduced to four. While the party continued to maintain second place in Vattiyoorkavu, Kazhakkottam, Manjeshwar and Kasaragod. it has been pushed to the third spot in Malampuzha, Palakkad and Chathannur, the rival factions pointed out.
“Surendran had convinced the central leadership that the party would lead in local bodies falling under at least 30 assembly constituencies and further consolidate it into seats in the upcoming assembly election. With these tall claims falling flat, there is no other choice but a change of guard,” said a leader of the rival faction. There is also resentment against Surendran for failing to take all factions into confidence and instead behaving like a ‘group manager’.
Meanwhile, national vice-president A P Abdullakutty conceded that the results were below expectations. He said the cause of the dismal performance needed to be examined closely. It is also significant that national president J P Nadda chose to term the party’s performance just as an ‘improved mandate’, indicating that there was nothing much to rejoice.
A high-level meeting of the RSS to be held on Saturday would also take stock of the election results. A source said the RSS is equally unhappy with the result despite its cadre pulling out all stops to ensure an impressive performance for the saffron party. After the issue snowballed into a controversy, BJP former president P K Krishnadas denied the existence of a faction led by him in the party. In a Facebook post late on Friday, he said no such letter has been written to the central leadership with his knowledge or consent.