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Sunday, December 4, 2022

PP Mukundan, BJP Patriarch from Kerala, opens up on what hurts the party

PP Mukundan is a BJP leader from Kerala who worked tirelessly and fearlessly during the times when communists were eager to eliminate whoever stood up for the Hindus. Mukundan too toiled as hard as BS Yediyurappa did in Karnataka but was not able to replicate the Karnataka model. That does not undermine his efforts and lakhs joined both the RSS & BJP, in Kerala due to his work.

Recently he was unceremoniously dumped and the ex-state general secretary is now just another party member. 

BJP leaders are not ready to bring him back into the top leadership but that is not the case with ordinary workers. He still holds influence among them and the cadre wants to know what actually conspired. Mukundan did provide a few insights into what he thought was happening and more importantly what is going wrong with the organization.

He started off by admitting that the organization is above all else. K Surendran the current BJP President and the common man’s leader contested from 2 places during the recently concluded assembly elections and lost both. As far as the average voter was concerned, it showed a lack of leaders in the organization or a lack of trust in some or both. Mukundan says that the decision came from the central leadership. 

Surendran was born and brought up in Kozhikode but is now settled in Kasargod. He learned the local languages like Tulu & Kannada and has an excellent rapport with workers there. Kasargod borders Karnataka and in the 2016 assembly elections, he contested from Manjeshwaram and lost by a margin of just 89 votes. 

Though it was the Indian Union Muslim League candidate who won there, it became clear that the communists had cross-voted to make sure that Surendran lost. Kasargod is a part of Malabar and demographically 40% Muslim. In the 2021 elections, the margin of loss went up to 750 odd votes. The communists won overall seats and retained power at Thiruvananthapuram, this time too. 

During the Sabarimala temple standoff between the communist regime and Hindus, Surendran was at the forefront of the resistance. That might have been the reason why he was asked to contest from Konni in the Pathanamthitta district. Sabarimala is situated in that district. Surendran lost spectacularly and the margin of loss was around 30,000 votes.

Mukundan blames the central leadership for Surendran’s troubles. He pointed out that had Surendran contested from Manjeshwaram only, he would have won. His elections tours using helicopters too worked against him. Voters from Konni naturally thought that their votes would be wasted if he won from both constituencies. 

When reminded that a majority of the modern leaders of the BJP were groomed when he was at the helm of the party, Mukundan said that their lifestyles have changed. He remembered that back then the money spent each day was budgeted and properly accounted for. He said that the party leadership was concerned about expenses including those spent on even tea. Meals were usually from the homes of the common cadre and added that it helped strengthen the party structure.

Mukundan said that when the top leaders falter, the entire system fails. He blamed Surendran for failing to integrate the old and the new leaders and the old guards and neglected to bring them under one common platform. He reminded the new crop of leaders to build relationships above party lines and noted that citizens belonging to the other political outfits are not enemies but mere political opponents. 

Mukundan wants today’s leaders to approach communist leaders as the ones who could become the future leaders of the BJP. Unlike other political parties, desertion was unheard of in the BJP but sadly that is not the case now. Workers are disgusted, the network is in tatters and corrections have to happen at both the state and central levels. 

Though new voter numbers have gone up, when compared to Lok Sabha elections, the BJP got 3 lakhs votes less in Assembly polls. Late tactics by the BJP claiming that they would win 35 seats out of the 140 and proposing E Sreedharan as their chief minister candidate found little subscribers.

Offering top leadership posts to newcomers and party hoppers like Alphons Kannanthanam and Tom Vadakkan failed to bring in even the Christian votes. Mukundan admits that they might be highly efficient in their respective fields but wanted to know their contribution to Kerala society. He termed the appointment of AP Abdullakutty as the national vice-president immature since he did not even subscribe to the BJP ideology. Most of the ones who joined them in West Bengal were on their way out he reminded. 

Mukundan wanted to know the contributions of ex BJP president Kummanam Rajashekharan. Scathing personal comments made by union minister V Muraleedharan including the missed call membership against such a senior member have not gone down well with the patriarch. Mukundan asked Muraleedharan to fulfill the difficult tasks bestowed upon him by the party before asking him to go in for a new membership and reminded him that he was still a humble servant of the party.  

Another young leader with huge potential, Sobha Surendran who was singled out had contacted Mukundan. He asked her to introspect and advised her to keep quiet for at least 6 months. Sobha seems to have taken that advice positively and the results are slowly but surely becoming evident now.

He advised the present leaders to listen to the pulse of the workers and try and understand it. The common belief that the BJP has lost its relevance in Kerala is untrue. The seeds are dormant and all that the leadership has to do is to help them grow. Losing in a sure seat and winning losing seats is not new in politics he added.

The interview was conducted by the openly anti-Hindu Malayala Manorama and the Hindu in name only (HINO) reporter tried his best to put words into Mukundan’s mouth. He wanted to know whether there was any ego clash between him and the RSS leadership that led to his downfall. Mukundan declined to answer those questions.

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