E. Sreedharan, the veteran railway engineer credited with building the Konkan Railway and Delhi Metro, will soon take the political plunge. Sreedharan, who will turn 89 in June, has been popularly referred to as the 'Metro Man' of India for his work in overseeing the Delhi Metro project, which served as the benchmark for subsequent metro projects across India.
K. Surendran, the chief of the BJP in Kerala, told a press conference on Thursday that Sreedharan would "officially join" the party during its upcoming 'Vijaya Yatra'. The Vijaya Yatra will be led by Surendran and inaugurated from Kasaragod on February 21 by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. The Vijaya Yatra is expected to culminate in Thiruvananthapuram in the first week of March, where Home Minister Amit Shah will address a rally.
Surendran told the media that both the ruling Left Democratic Front and the opposition Congress-led United Democratic Front in Kerala had sought to harm Sreedharan. Surendran added the BJP had requested Sreedharan to contest the coming Assembly polls in Kerala.
Onmanorama reported Sreedharan could join the BJP once the Vjiaya Yatra reaches his home-town of Palakkad. Sreedharan confirmed the news of his intention to join the BJP and expressed his willingness to contest. He was quoted by Manorama News as saying, "Let the party decide the constituency."
Sreedharan has praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the past. In March 2014, as Modi launched his bid to be the prime minister, Sreedharan said he thought Modi would change the decision-making process, citing the latter's reputation of taking "very fast" decisions.
Sreedharan has also been critical of the Pinarayi Vijayan government in Kerala. In December 2019, an NGO run by Sreedharan served a legal notice to Vijayan after the Kerala government announced a law permitting campus politics in the state. Sreedharan then told NDTV, "From burning effigies of principles to stabbing of students to murders, colleges across Kerala have been witnessing such instances. That each young person must have access to education is their fundamental right, but playing politics in campuses is not a fundamental right. And not just students, politicians from outside college campuses also promote such activities with their support."
Sreedharan had been peeved at the Pinarayi Vijayan government for allegedly side-lining him from infrastructure projects in Kerala.