Thiruvananthapuram: The induction of V. Muraleedharan in the Union ministry is a signal to the state BJP unit which did not rise up to the expectations of the central leadership in the Lok Sabha elections. Among the losers are K. J. Alphons Kannamthanam, former union tourism minister, and the faction led by P. K. Krishnadas, former state president.
The majority of the state BJP leaders were relieved when Muraleedharan was elected as Rajya Sabha MP from Maharashtra in April last year. But Muraleedharan made his presence felt in the state by visiting it regularly and attacking the ruling LDF government's policies. Though the Krishnadas faction had resented Muraleedharan's high-handedness in the party, his bitterest foe is state president P. S. Sreedharan Pillai.
A section within the party had alleged that Muraleedharan was behind packing off the then state president Kummanam Rajasekharan to Mizoram as Governor in the midst of the Chengannur by-election when Sreedharan Pillai was the BJP candidate. The BJP leaders blamed Muraleedharan for Sreedharan Pillai's dismal performance in the polls.
"Trouble has started brewing against Sreedharan Pillai due to Kummanam's failure in the elections. Muraleedharan may try to oust Sreedharan Pillai and make his trusted lieutenant K. Surendran, the next state BJP president," said a senior BJP leader. State general secretary M. T. Ramesh had broken down during a core committee meeting here in July 2017 when Muraleedharan and Surendran accused him of being involved in the medical college scam. Despite national president Amit Shah's warning that heads will roll, the leadership did not dare touch the duo. Instead, the then party spokesperson V. V. Rajesh faced the brunt and was stripped of his official responsibilities. Rajesh has since been brought back to the party despite a section of leaders opposing him.