The BJP in Kerala could not have been in a worse position than it finds itself in today.
After having forfeited its lone seat in the previous assembly elections, losing 5 per cent from its 16 per cent vote share, the probe into a highly embarrassing havala heist, in which Rs 3.5 crore money allegedly meant for election expenses was stolen, leading to the higher levels of the state party leadership.
On top of all this, there is now a payment scam, in which state party chief K Surendran is alleged to have paid Rs 10 lakh to tribal activist leader CK Janu to get her back in the NDA fold ahead of an important meeting addressed by Amit Shah.
The infamous Kodakara havala case is turning more murky by the day as the crime branch investigations have revealed the involvement of BJP leaders at the district level and above.
According to police sources, a high profile state leader is expected to be quizzed in connection with the theft of the havala money, which the party is trying to divert to the CPI-M cadres.
Curiously, the BJP launched its own enquiry into the disappearance of the money even before the police managed to gather clues. The party claims the internal enquiry was to clear the party’s name in the embarrassing episode.
The payment scam broke out when Praseeda Azhikkode, a colleague in CK Janu’s political outfit, claimed at a press conference that state BJP President K Surendran had paid Rs 10 lakh probably as the first instalment to the tribal leader to wean her away from the leftist camp, which she was planning to join after feeling disenchanted with BJP.
It is understood that BJP central leadership wanted more constituents to be included in the NDA in Kerala and the state party leadership was on the lookout for splinter groups.
According to Praseeda, CK Janu had demanded Rs 10 crore as consideration to come back to the NDA fold. Voice clips of Surendran’s conversation in this regard with Praseeda are out, in which the state party president asks her to collect the money at a hotel in Thiruvananthapuram, where Amit Shah was scheduled to attend a much-publicised election rally.
Finally, CK Janu turned up at the rally and Surendran made a big show of her comeback to the NDA fold.
The groups opposed to Surendran’s leadership, including highly vocal leader Shobha Surendran, have made it clear that they are in no mood to let the embattled state party leader off the hook as they plan to take up the issue with the central leadership.
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