BJP not to bite state government bait on SilverLine

K Surendran says the party will discuss the new situation that emerged after K V Thomas’ meeting with E Sreedharan.

Published: 16th July 2023 08:06 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th July 2023 09:03 AM   |  A+A-

Kerala BJP state president K Surendran. (Photo | Express)

Kerala BJP state president K Surendran. (Photo | Express)

Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:  State BJP will not jump into the bandwagon of the LDF government’s SilverLine revamp agenda. The leadership has decided to discuss the new development that emerged after the state government’s special envoy K V Thomas’ meeting with Metro Man E Sreedharan. 

“The party will discuss the new situation that has emerged,” BJP state president K Surendran told TNIE.

“The BJP is always against the SilverLine project. After meeting Sreedharan, I told them that we are for an alternative rail project that does not lead to environmental destruction and evacuation of people,” he said. The party’s decision not to jump to any conclusion came after UDF came out against Surendran’s open support of Sreedharan’s proposal. Surendran and the official faction were also held defenceless when his own state vice president openly questioned his stand.

The BJP leadership is of the view that any position taken before the state government makes its stand clear, could backfire. “As far as we know, the state government will find it difficult to move ahead with Sreedharan’s proposal,” a senior BJP leader said. 

“Sreedharan wanted DMRC in place of K-Rail. And secondly, K-Rail does not have a good relationship with Sreedharan. There will be a conflict of interest,” he said. 

Leaders also told TNIE that Union Minister V Muraleedharan’s response is an example of the state BJP’s change of stand. While speaking to the media in Thiruvananthapuram on Saturday, Muraleedharan asked the state government to reveal the details of the proposal. 

BJP also thinks that the timing of starting a discussion on ‘development’ is a tactic of the CPM. “Whatever Pinarayi thinks, the BJP national leadership and Union government will not take a decision that may jeopardise the BJP’s chances in Kerala”, a BJP national leader told TNIE.

Meanwhile, the state leadership has decided not to take seriously the statement of vice-president Shobha Surendran. The leadership is taking the statement as an open invitation to revolt. 

CM should clarify on vast amounts spent on SilverLine: K Sudhakaran 

After two days of silence, Congress state president K Sudhakaran reacted to the revival of the SilverLine project. Sudhakaran demanded that Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan should clarify on Rs 57 crore that was spent on the project, several hundreds of land which were acquired and not being used and the thousands of litigations slapped against the people in the affected areas.

When Metro Man E Sreedharan and the state government’s special envoy in New Delhi, K V Thomas, met and decided to revive the controversial SilverLine project, it kicked off a debate in political circles. But interestingly, only national Congress general secretary (organisation) K C Venugopal and senior leader K Muraleedharan openly came out against it.

On Saturday, Sudhakaran finally came out with a statement. Recalling that Pinarayi had not released the detailed project report on the project, Sudhakaran informed that the French company assigned to prepare the DPR was given Rs 22.27 crore.

“Also, the government officials who were entrusted to acquire the land were given Rs 13.49 crore in salary per year and another Rs 20.5 crore was spent on the smooth functioning of the office. Rs 1.48 crore was spent on erecting yellow stones. Another Rs 57 crore was spent on preparing a handbook on SilverLine and also on conducting a campaign. All these incidents happened when Kerala was reeling under a debt crisis,” said Sudhakaran. 

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