E Sreedharan, a newly crowned BJP member, and the ‘metro man,’ has clarified why he entered politics a little before the Kerala legislative assembly election. At an electoral campaign in Kerala yesterday, he welcomed Home Minister Amit Shah.
“Many have asked me why I am entering politics at 88. My answer is I have worked on many projects for the country for 67 years. At this age too, I have confidence, strength and energy to work. If I can do anything for Kerala, let it be so. It’s that desire alone that made me join BJP,” Mr Sreedharan said today.
Mr Sreedharan has been seen greeting Mr Shah with a shawl to welcome him. The Home Minister, nevertheless, takes the shawl from Mr Sreedharan and places it on the retired engineer at the very last minute, symbolically indicating his significance to the BJP.
Mr Sreedharan received a special acknowledgment during Mr Shah’s address. Mr Shah said, “He started as an engineer, professor, and professionally completed several projects of national significance in a timely and transparent manner.”
“At my age, I feel sometimes that it’s been enough. But looking at you, I salute you, that your enthusiasm for serving the nation is as much as it was when you were young. The man who has built infrastructure has chosen BJP for nation-building. And we are very happy about this,” Mr. Shah added.
More About Mr. Sreedharan:
Mr. Sreedharan first gained national attention after repairing the historic Pamban bridge in Tamil Nadu, which connects the island of Rameshwaram to the mainland and was destroyed by a cyclone. In 2001, he received the Padma Shri, and in 2008, he received the Padma Vibhushan. The retired engineer is best known for being the driving force behind the Delhi Metro project.
The BJP’s opponents in Kerala have downplayed Mr. Sreedharan’s entry into politics. Shashi Tharoor, a Congress MP, believes the “metro man” would have “minimal effects.”
“I would have welcomed E Sreedharan in politics, had he not chosen a party that stands for communalism,” said MA Baby, CPI(M) leader.
The BJP now has one MLA in Kerala’s 140-member legislature, up from nil in 2011, but is hoping that Mr Sreedharan’s popularity and charisma will help the party’s destiny.
Kerala will hold a single-phase election on April 6, with results expected on May 2.