Sacking of 2 key leaders brings to fore feud in BJP’s Kerala unit
Bengaluru: The chief of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Kerala unit Kummanam Rajasekharan on Wednesday sacked two senior party leaders in a sign of growing internal bickering in the state unit of the party.
V.V. Rajesh and Praful Krishna were expelled because of their alleged involvement in a media leak of graft charges against party leaders. The episode highlights factional fighting between two former state presidents V. Muraleedharan and P.K. Krishnadas.
Rajesh was Kerala general secretary of the BJP and Krishna general secretary of its youth outfit Yuva Morcha.
Rajesh is suspected by the party to have leaked an internal graft probe report against two state leaders, BJP’s another Kerala general secretary M.T. Ramesh and its state cooperative cell convener R.S. Vinod.
Krishna, on the other hand, is accused of informing the media about counterfeit receipts allegedly misused for fund-raising during the national conference of the BJP held in Kerala in September 2016.
A senior leader of the BJP in Kerala, requesting anonymity, confirmed over the phone that both were sacked based on proof of “working to disrepute the Krishnadas faction”.
State unit president Rajasekharan, however, did not mention factionalism while talking to reporters, saying action was taken against the duo after finding evidence that they had worked against the BJP.
“We have been taking strong action against corruption, irregularities and anti-organizational activities. This should be seen in that way,” Rajasekharan told the regional media.
The sacking hasn’t gone down well with the Muraleedharan side, as both Rajesh and Krishna are known to be close to Muraleedharan, although it was meant to be a warning for both sides, said the above-mentioned leader.
Rajesh told journalists that if he had been sacked for leaking the report, the party should also enquire how he got hold of the report which was said to have been meant exclusively for Rajasekharan and a few others in the BJP central leadership.
Krishna, Muraleedharan and Krishnadas did not respond to calls from Mint.
The two leaks that led to the sacking had brought the biggest loss of face recently for the BJP, which has been otherwise gaining some popularity in Kerala.
A section owing allegiance to Muraleedharan had demanded action against those who were involved in the alleged creation of fake receipts, The Hindu reported on Monday. The matter led to minor scuffles and a war of words in Kozhikode district, where the 2016 national conference was held, said the report.
Ramesh, who is known to be close to the Krishnadas faction, had said he was being victimized as part of rampant groupism within the BJP. The report named him and Vinod for allegedly accepting bribes from private medical colleges in lieu of getting them Medical Council of India (MCI) recognition using their influence in the Union government.
Meanwhile, the state government has launched a vigilance investigation into the matter.