‘Metro man’ E Sreedharan: Ready to be CM of Kerala if BJP comes into power

‘Metro man’ E Sreedharan is open to taking on the role of a chief minister if the Bharatiya Janata Party comes to power in Kerala. He has made it clear that he is disinterested to take up the governorship.

“I am not interested in governorship. I won’t be able to contribute to the state in such a ‘constitutional’ position with no powers at all,” Sreedharan said.

He also told his and his party’s vision for the southern state. “I am entering the political fray with an aim to bring BJP to power in Kerala and work for the state’s benefit. If BJP wins Kerala assembly polls, the focus will be to bring the state out of debt trap, develop infrastructure,” Sreedharan said.

The entry of Sreedharan into politics through the BJP was announced by state party chief K Surendran at a press conference on Thursday. Surendran said the official function of his joining the party will be held during its two-week-long Vijaya Yatra commencing on February 21 from Kasargod to Thiruvananthapuram.

The 88-year old Sreedharan played a major role in executing Kerala’s ambitious Kochi metro rail project. A much-admired technocrat, he is credited with changing the face of the public transport system in the country.

On a question as to why he is more inclined to become the CM and not Governor, Sreedharan said he is not interested in governorship as in that position, he would not be able to contribute to the state. He said the ‘constitutional’ position of Governor has “no powers at all”.

Sreedharan, popularly known as the ‘Metroman’, is a much-admired technocrat. He is recognised across India and even abroad for having transformed the face of the public transport system in the country. The announcement of him joining the BJP ahead of the polls in Kerala brought cheer among the party cadre in the state. The BJP is aiming to put forward a strong fight in the elections in the southern state this time around.

‘The state is in a debt trap today, so much of borrowings. And debt burden on each Malayalee is Rs 1.2 lakh today. That means we are heading for bankruptcy and the government still continues to borrow. The state finances need to be propped up and for that, we need to find a solution,’ he said.

His entry into the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is being seen as a major boost for the party in election-bound Kerala. The state is being ruled by the Left Democratic Front (LDF) and the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) alternately for the past many years.

‘If BJP wants, I will contest (the assembly elections),’ he said during an interview over phone. Sreedharan said that he is ‘certainly’ ready to be the chief minister if the party wants him to be after coming to power.

When asked about whether he will be open to chief ministership, he said, ‘If they (BJP) want, certainly. To tell you very frankly, unless I am the chief minister these (priorities) cannot be achieved.’ He is likely to formally join the BJP on February 25 and said that he was entering the ‘political fray’.

On what it means to enter the political fray, Sreedharan said it only means that all his professional responsibilities are coming to an end by the end of this month. ‘All the responsibilities taken up by me are coming to an end. I thought I will give time for the benefit of the Kerala state. That is possible only if we enter politics. Do something for the state,’ he noted. Currently, he is working on a project to rebuild a bridge in Kerala and the professional commitment will come to an end this month.

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