Has Rajeev Chandrasekhar Been Inducted into the NDA to Woo Kerala’s Business Community?

Rajeev Chandrasekhar, the Rajya Sabha member from Karnataka, was ruling the headlines of national media outlets a couple weeks ago for his letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging him to declare Pakistan as a terror State. He had also proposed a Private Member Bill for the Winter Session titled ‘Pakistan State Sponsor of Terror’. Mr. Chandrasekhar is once again in the limelight after being appointed as the vice-chairman of the Kerala unit of the BJP-led NDA.

Speaking to The Kochi Post, Mr. Chandrasekhar said, “I have always been maintaining that Kerala’s politics needs a strong alternative. And it’s time now. An alternative political front based on equitable development for all including the several lakhs of browbeaten as well as opportunities for the youth. The NDA, with its rapidly growing vote share and popularity, is that alternative. I’m privileged to serve in it and hopefully contribute to the transformation and development of Kerala & southern India. I will continue to remain a guardian MP to Bengaluru & Karnataka serving the interest of the people here as always. The new responsibility has been additionally given to me to help in the growth of NDA in Kerala and in the south.”

Having established its roots in the Centre, the BJP has been implementing strong agendas to strengthen its grip in Kerala and it was for the first time in its history that it could initiate an alliance with other political partners in Kerala and form NDA to take on both CPI-M-led Left Democratic Front and the Congress-led United Democratic Front and alter the course of poll battle in the State.

In order to assure that the lotus blooms in the State, the BJP found a convenient ally in Vellappally Natesan who was confident that the votes from the Ezhava community could help the BJP attain a good number of seats. Even though the association of BJP with Bharat Dharma Jana Sena did not give the desired output, as the BJP expected it was successful in gaining votes.

The new committee has been formed as a goodwill gesture for the performance in the Assembly elections. The names of the members of the new committee were announced in Delhi after BJP president Amit Shah met the BJP leaders of Kerala. The committee will be headed by BJP State president Kummanem Rajashekeran. This is the first time that Mr. Chandrasekhar, who is a Malayali, has been given a party post in Kerala. Thushar Vellappally, the chief of BDJS, BJP’s key ally in Kerala, has been appointed as the convenor.

Commenting on the issue B.R.P. Bhaskar, senior journalist, said, “BJP’s decision to appoint Rajeev as the vice-chairman of Kerala unit is a clear case of mutual understanding strategy where both Rajeev and the party will benefit. A person like him who is a channel chief and a businessman at the same time is undoubtedly highly influential, which will obviously help the party in its electoral endeavours. Power and money is a deadly combination and if both are with a person, then he is obviously the most-wanted person.’’

However, advocate and media critic A. Jayashankar is of the opinion that BJP’s move to appoint Rajeev as vice-chairman is to attract the business class and show them that the party is a supporter of businessmen. Also, in its first step, the party set up an ally with BJDS that has proven to be beneficial to an extent. Its second move is to attract votes from Syrian Christians which could be made possible by this appointment, according to him.

The Kochi Post reached out to Chief Editor of Asianet M.G. Radhakrishnan to know his opinion regarding Mr. Chandrasekhar’s appointment. Mr. Radhakrishnan declined to express his views on the matter by saying that it would be inappropriate to comment as Mr. Chandrasekhar owns the channel that he is part of.

Main photograph from Facebook

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