With an impending Union cabinet reshuffle on the cards, the Kerala unit of the BJP is however not in an upbeat mood for more reasons than one, but hoping against hope are a few, that the call will come.
Among the list of hopefuls include sitting Upper House member K.J. Alphons who had one stint as a Minister in the first NDA government besides superstar Suresh Gopi.
Apart from the two includes Metroman E. Sreedharan, who put up a spirited fight till the last round of counting in assembly polls, but was eventually defeated by a margin of 3,859 votes.
Then there is businessman turned politician Rajeev Chandrasekhar, though he is based in Bengaluru.
Two others – C.V. Ananda Bose, a former top Kerala bureaucrat and a former director general of police Jacob Thomas are the others who are in the reckning. Thomas had also contested the assembly elections.
Incidentally Sreedharan, Bose, Thomas and Gopi have been recently entrusted by the national leadership to give reports about the state of affairs in the state party unit.
At present barring V. Muraleedharan — Union Minister of State for External Affairs, there is not a single Malayalee in the union cabinet. He has been elected from Maharashtra to the Upper House.
The BJP in Kerala has cut a sorry figure, after its state president K. Surendran despite expressing hope that they would rule the state as they are sure to win 35 seats in the 140 member Kerala Assembly in the April 6 assembly polls.
But when votes wwere counted, not only did they lose the only seat which O. Rajagopal had won in the 2016, their vote share also decreased, despite campaigns led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Even as the state unit of the BJP was reeling under its worst performance, came a few reports of how alleged ‘hawala’ money found its way for the elections campaign and the Kerala Police has registered a case against Surendran for giving money to a candidate at Manjeswaram assembly constituency, which he had contested.
For long the national leadership of the party has been upset with the state leadership as it has been a divided house with two factions – one led by Muraleedharan under whom Surendran is the principal leader here and the opposite one led by former State President P.K. Krishnadas.
Despite several guidelines given to the two factions to maintain unity, it has fallen on deaf ears and this has made them very unhappy and Surendran was called to Delhi last week.
A media critic on condition of anonymity said things have reached a new low for the state BJP unit in Kerala and hence it’s most likely if any state BJP ‘political’ leader will get the call from Delhi ahead of the impending reshuffle.
“If not for his age, Sreedharan would have been the best bet. Gopi, had contested the 2019 Lok Sabha polls and the recent assembly polls and with acting his principal profession, it remains to be seen if he will be keen to give up that for a cabinet berth. Bose, of late is moving closely with Modi and Shah, while Chandrasekhar is more of a politician now than a businessman. All what remains to be seen is more than any Malayalee getting in, all eyes are on if Muraleedharan will be able to keep his place. One thing is for certain, the national leadership is certainly unhappy with its state unit,” said the critic.