My clean image will draw people towards BJP: E Sreedharan, Ex Delhi Metro chief


Bengaluru: E Sreedharan (88), the man who changed the face of urban transportation in India, has decided to accept the BJP’s invitation to join the party. He is also keen to contest the forthcoming assembly elections.

The party will decide on his ticket and where he should contest from, Sreedharan, who currently lives at Ponnani in Malappuram district told ET. “I will most likely contest the elections,” he said. The BJP leaders, he added, approached him with a request to join the party and he agreed, he said.

On whether he has any preference as for where to contest from, Sreedharan said he has not thought about it.

“I am living in Kerala. There are so many things that could be done, but nothing much is happening here. Industrial and infrastructure developments have taken a backseat. Nothing much has happened on the industrial sector in the past 13 years,” the former Delhi metro chief said. While in government service, Sreedharan belonged to the Indian Railways Service of Engineers (IRSE).

The LDF and UDF combines have taken turns to rule the southern state, while the BJP is ruling at the centre. The political conflicts have taken a toll on the state’s development. “I feel there is a strong chance for the BJP to form the government in Kerala this time, or at least become a king maker. With the BJP ruling at the centre, if the state also gets a BJP government, that will facilitate industrial growth and development,” he said.

His joining the BJP, he said, will motivate a large number of others to also follow in his footsteps and join the party. “I enjoy a clean image and that might inspire people who know me to join me,” Sreedharan said.

When he is not bogged down by official assignments, Sreedharan spends time on the social workd. He is part of a few nonprofits. He is the country head of Foundation for Restoration of National Values, which has Ratan Tata, Justice MN Venkatachalaiah, and N Vittal, among others, as members. Its aim: to build the character and value system among the children and in the society as a whole. The outfit files PILs in the courts on issues aligned to this goal.

A believer in Advaitha philosophy, Sreedharan is a devotee of not any particular deity, but believes God is both omnipresent and omniscient. He is a managing trustee at the Narasimhamurthy temple in his native Karukapurthur village in Pattambi taluk of Palakkad district. In the nearby temple town of Guruvayoor, he is part of a team working on an ambitious programme to revive and popularise Ashtapadi Aattam — the declining art of dance drama, once very popular in West Bengal and Odisha, which has its origin in the 12th century.

One of the hallmarks of Sreedharan’s projects is that they stayed above any hint of corruption or transgression. Adored by members of his team, he has this piece of advice to young engineers: “Work for the country. Build yourself the technical competence, value system, character and knowledge.”

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