'Metro Man' E Sreedharan to join BJP, may fight polls
Elattuvalapil Sreedharan, the man credited for changing the face of public transportation in India, is set to join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Also known as the "Metro Man" of India, the 88-year-old engineering veteran confirmed the news on Thursday. He will officially join the party during its upcoming Vijay Yatra in Kerala and is expected to contest in the next Kerala Assembly election.
"I have decided to join the BJP, just official formalities remain," Sreedharan told NDTV. He said he has been living in Kerala since his retirement 10 years ago but feels the southern state is not getting its due. "I have seen different governments and they are not doing what can be done for the people," he was quoted as saying.
"I have noticed that the LDF and UDF are only interested in their political growth, not in the state's growth. In this scenario, it is only the BJP that can do something for the state," Sreedharan told The News Minute.
Meanwhile, the BJP's Kerala President K Surendran made the announcement in Kozhikode today. "I have to inform you of very important news. A son of Kerala who is globally renowned is to become part of the BJP. 'Metro man' Sreedharan, the pride of Kerala who raised the reputation of Kerala in the world has decided to work with the BJP (sic)," he reportedly said.
Years ago, ahead of the 2014 general elections, Sreedharan had praised the then-Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi. "Our problem is basically delay in taking government decisions and bureaucracy is responsible for it. I think there will be a change in the decision-making process. From what I have seen, the decisions he (Modi) has taken till now were very fast (sic)," he had told reporters.
Born on June 12, 1932 in the Palakkad district of Kerala, Sreedharan has been the driving force behind some of India's most ambitious and successful railway and metro projects carried out across several states. After he retired in 1990 as a senior railway engineer, he worked on the mega Konkan Railway project, which earned him widespread praise.
In 1995, Sreedharan was given the charge of the Delhi Metro project, which marked the first in a series of many major metro projects under his leadership. He retired as the chief of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) on December 31, 2011. Sreedharan has been conferred with several accolades, including the Padma Shri in 2001 and the Padma Vibhushan in 2008.
The next Assembly elections in Kerala are due to be held by May. Presently, the BJP has one MLA in the 140-member Assembly and is considered a small player as compared to the ruling Left-led alliance and the Opposition alliance, led by the Congress party.