NEW DELHI: In a shot in the arm for the BJP in the upcoming Kerala Assembly elections, ‘Metro Man’ E Sreedharan on Thursday announced his decision to join the party. He is likely to do so during the party’s Vijay Yatra, which gets kicked off on Sunday in the run-up to the polls due in May.
PM Modi has bent backwards to accommodate the 88-year-old Sreedharan, as the party has an age cut-off of 75 years, under which veterans like Lal Krishna Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi were shown the door.
The ‘Metro Man’ told reporters on phone from his hometown Malappuram that only formalities remain and he is amenable to contesting the election, if the party wants.
"I have been living in Kerala for the last 10 years, since my retirement. I have seen different governments come and go but they have all been found wanting. I am joining the BJP to be able to contribute my mite, using my experience," he said, explaining why he opted for the BJP.
He also criticized other political parties for what he called "blind opposition" towards the BJP and showing India in a bad light. "Political parties with vested interests are projecting India in a very bad light nationally and are opposing the BJP merely for the sake of it. Parties like the Congress are giving India a bad image", he said.
Asked to comment on "love-jihad" and articulate his stand on preserving the Sabarimala tradition of barring women between 10 and 50 years, Sreedharan said, "I believe in the party. This is the reason why I have joined the BJP; its stand is correct."
The BJP has just one MLA in the 140-member Kerala assembly.
Sreedharan retired as chief of the Delhi Metro in 2011. The engineer was also involved in other metro projects in Jaipur, Lucknow and Kochi.
He was awarded the Padma Shri in 2001 and the Padma Vibhushan in 2008.