‘Metroman’ Sreedharan quits active politics

‘Metroman’ E. Sreedharan

Announcing his decision to quit active politics, ‘Metroman’ E. Sreedharan, who unsuccessfully contested the last Assembly elections on a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ticket, said on Thursday that he was initially unhappy over his loss in polls, but then realised that even if he had won, a single MLA cannot do much for the people.

“I was never a politician and do not wish to. I am 90 now and hence do not want to be in politics. I need not be a politician to serve people which I am doing through three trusts,” he said, speaking at a private function in Ponnani near Malappuram.

Sreedharan said the BJP in Kerala need to change its policy to fare well in the elections. However, Kerala BJP chief K. Surendran told the media in Ernakulam that Sreedharan was never an active politician but the party will continue to seek his advice on many matters. “Even though he (Sreedharan) had lost in the elections, the party needs his service and that’s why he is in the national executive of the BJP. Whatever be the reports about his quitting, the party will seek his advice,” Surendran said in response to a query.

In his address, Sreedharan launched a scathing attack on the conceptualisation of the proposed K-Rail project, connecting Thiruvananthapuram and Kasaragod, saying it was “ill-conceived”, lacked technical perfection and is being “badly executed”.

The Metroman, who contested as the BJP candidate from Palakkad Assembly constituency during last assembly election, said the ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist’s ambitious project was defectively planned and technically handicapped as to offer any economic or social good for the state. “I am not against the proposal of a high speed rail, per se, but the present one needs lots of corrections including its basic track width. It should be a broad gauge instead of the proposed standard gauge,” he said.

Sreedharan said more than 300 km of tracks are proposed through land including agriculture fields, which is unscientific and causes heavy damage, including to drainage, people’s passage and unprecedented environmental impacts. “The project cannot be completed in five years as claimed. The cost estimated is much less than actual. Moreover, the cost of a project should be estimated based upon its completion date. Even if we take 75,000-80,000 crores as an estimate, it would cross a lakh crores at the time of completion in about 10 years,” Sreedharan noted. On politics, the 90-year-old technocrat said he learnt a valuable lesson from the election debacle. Sreedharan had contested in the assembly polls held in April last as BJP’s CM candidate, but was defeated by Congress leader Shafi Parambil.