Debating India

STATE ELECTIONS 2006

BJP shunts out coordinator from Kerala

Sunday 30 April 2006, by PI*Rajeev

KOCHI, APRIL 29 : Driving a deeper wedge into the RSS-BJP divide within the state, the party has asked its controversial regional coordinator for south India, P P Mukundan, to stay away from the party’s Assembly poll campaign in Kerala as it prepares for the last phase of polling in the state.

State BJP sources said the decision was taken three days ago, at a meeting chaired by its national president, Rajnath Singh. The sources said Mukundan is likely to be stripped of his charge of the other states as well, after the polls.

Speaking to The Indian Express from Chennai, Mukundan said he still considered himself to be in-charge of all the southern states, since he was yet to be ??officially’’ asked to keep off Kerala which he left on Thursday. ??However, I have decided to stay put in Tamil Nadu since we have an election here as well,’’ Mukundan said.

Mukundan is the top RSS nominee in the state BJP, whom former Union minister O Rajagopal had accused in an interview to a magazine to have connections with underworld don Dawood Ibrahim. The interview had quoted Rajagopal as saying: ??The troubles within the party are being engineered by those who amassed wealth using the party’s address. It is said the individual wealth today of the most prominent among them would be over Rs 10 crore. You must be aware of the petrol pump deals (the allotment scam exposed by The Indian Express). One of them has very close links with a construction company that is associated with underworld don Dawood Ibrahim. This individual has even acquired a residential flat from them for free.’’

Mukundan’s name had figured in the din over the blatant trading of BJP votes in Thiruvananthapuram during the last Lok Sabha bypoll which Rajagopal had contested. The state BJP had instituted an official probe and is now preparing to pass on the report to the national leadership. Mukundan, however, had courted similar allegations of vote trading even in 1991, when the BJP had an officially admitted underhand deal with the Congress and Muslim League.

The BJP leadership had burnt bridges with the Mukundan faction, almost completely sidelining them this poll. His annoyed followers have been candid that they would ensure the defeat of the party’s candidates on the other side, notably O Rajagopal. Mukundan said he had written to L K Advani and other leaders soon after Rajagopal’s interview appeared. ??I was told that Rajagopal wrote them a two paragraph regret note, but nothing more was done thereafter,’’ he said.

See online : The Indian Express

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