One of the biggest defeat that Bharatiya Janata Party faced in Kerala was of “Metro Man” E. Sreedharan’s. The world renowned technocrat lost the Congress leader and sitting MLA Shafi Parambil in Palakkad constituency of Kerala by a margin of 3,859 votes. BJP has named Sreedharan as the CM candidate in Kerala.
The 88-year old engineer is credited with setting up Konkan Railway project, Pamban Bridge and metro rail infrastructure in several Indian cities. This has earned him the moniker “metro man”. He was awarded the Padma Shri in 2001 and the Padma Vibhushan in 2008.
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After his defeat in the election, a heart touching note has been become viral on social media. The Facebook post written by a freelance journalist has gone viral on the social media. In the post , he says that the people of Kerala did didn’t want his corruption-free administration and ready redressal of people’s grievances. They didn’t want his Master Plan to make Palakkad the top smart city in India. Instead, they berayed him for his age and political choice.
“Father, forgive them…..”
Stardom in one’s official career alone won’t guarantee victory in an election. Late T N Seshan, a native of Palakkad who cleaned up the Indian electoral system, knew this bitter truth in 1999 when he contested the Lok Sabha election as a Congress candidate and lost to L K Advani in Gandhinagar. E Sreedharan, another proud son of Palakkad and a class-mate of T N Seshan, who transformed public transport in India, realises this after he lost to a Youth Congress leader in the Assembly election in Palakkad.
As the legendary Chief Election Commissioner, Seshan got Magsaysay Award for his courage and integrity in governance. As the celebrated Metro Man and an icon of modern India, Sreedharan was conferred with Padma Vibhushan. But getting a Magsaysay Award or a Padma Bhushan is different from winning an election. It’s a whole new ball game.
The victory in an election is a complex interplay of myriad factors such as the candidate’s personal chemistry with his electorate, anti or pro-incumbency sentiments of voters, money power, muscle power, communal identity etc. So your professional eminence, integrity and outstanding contributions in government service, which won you many coveted honours while in service, count little in an election. The voters make no distinction between a titan and a tiro, whoever is perceived to serve their immediate interests better wins the race. Perhaps Seshan and Sreedharan were late to realise this ground reality.
During the freedom movement and after, politics used to attract the cream of people from other professions who made rich contributions to the country’s governance. Today it has become the exclusive fiefdom of career politicians, the first refuge of the scoundrels. Karma yogis like E Sreedharan are a misfit in today’s politics.
When Sreedharan decided to join a political party of his choice after his retirement and contest the Assembly election with the honest intention to serve his home state in a better capacity, he was showered with choicest abuses by educated Kerala. People who praised him sky-high till the other day suddenly became his acerbic critics. They didn’t even spare his family members.
They didn’t want him to be a model MLA. They didn’t want his corruption-free administration and ready redressal of people’s grievances. They didn’t want his Master Plan to make Palakkad the top smart city in India. Instead, they berayed him for his age and political choice.
Respected Sreedharanji, on behalf of those fellow Malayalees who lampooned and insulted you for their own reasons, I only plead with you what Jesus had submitted before his crucifixion: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing”, Venugopal wrote on Facebook.