Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Sunday said the impact of Elattuvalapil Sreedharan, the former Delhi Metro chief, joining the Bharatiya Janata Party will likely be “minimal” in the upcoming Assembly elections, reported PTI. Sreedharan, popularly known as the “metro man”, had on February 18 announced his decision to join the BJP.
Tharoor said that the high point of Sreedharan’s impact on the Kerala polls will be his announcement of joining the BJP itself. The Congress leader said he was surprised by Sreedharan’s decision to enter politics at his age. “When I joined politics at 53, I thought I had left it too late to make the kind of impact I felt I was capable of,” he said. “What can I say about someone who is 88?”
Tharoor added that the BJP was not a serious contender in the polls except for a few seats. “It would be very difficult for the party to improve upon the one seat it won last time,” he said.
Tharoor said the Congress-led United Democratic Front has the talent, the experience and the creative energy to build a new narrative for the future of the state. “What I am working on is intended to be, above all, a ‘people’s manifesto’ – not just about what the Congress will do for the people of Kerala, but what the people of Kerala want and expect the Congress to do for them,” said the Congress leader.
Announcing his decision to enter politics, Sreedharan had said that the BJP was the only party that could do something for the state. He had also criticised other parties suggesting that they were showing India in a bad light. “Political parties with vested interests are projecting India in a very bad light nationally and opposing just for the sake of opposing,” Sreedharan said.
Sreedharan also said that he was open to contesting elections if the saffron party wanted. The BJP, which currently has one MLA in the 140-member Kerala Assembly, will contest the state polls, scheduled in April-May, against the ruling Left Democratic Front – a coalition of Left parties – and the Congress-led United Democratic Front.
Besides being the chief of Delhi Metro, 88-year-old Sreedharan was also involved with metro projects in multiple other cities in the country. He was awarded the Padma Shri in 2001 and the Padma Vibhushan in 2008.