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V Muraleedharan : BJP strongman, Modi’s confidante

New Delhi/ THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Born in Communist stronghold Thalassery, forrmer Kerala BJP president V Muraleedharan, grew up to be one of the strongmen of State BJP. He has been inducted in Narendra Modi’s new team of ministers. He took the oath at the star studded ceremony in Rashtrapati Bhawan. His elevation as Union Minister is an acceptance to his organizational skills. Muraleedharan said his ministerial berth is an acceptance of the people of Kerala. I didn’t expect this …first call came from party president, then came the call from Cabinet Secretariat…This shows that though Keralites didn’t vote for Modi, he is not willing to ditch them. As a minister I will work with the Centre and use its scheme to the benefit of Kerala…” he said after the swearing-in ceremony. A close aide of Amit Shah, Muraleedharan’s rise has been one of the most-steady ones in the party across the country.

He took oath as a Rajya Sabha MP last year, only the fourth Keralite to have achieved the designation in the four years of the Modi government. He was elected unopposed from Maharashtra. Muraleedharan has been a full-time member of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and has also been active in the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in his home town, Kozhikode. Known as a good orator, his entry into the upper House of Parliament was a huge boost for the party as he played a significant role in strengthening the BJP’s roots in the southern state.

In 2014, a record 240 CPI(M) members had joined the BJP, a development that Muraleedharan is credited to have overseen personally. During the current election, he was in-charge of the party’s Andhra Pradesh unit. Muraleedharan has held several positions, over the years, when it comes to the party. Among other roles that he has donned, the parliamentarian had assisted Venkaiah Naidu at the BJP’s central election control room during the 1998 polls, was the national convener of the NGO cell of the BJP in 2004 and a year later, was made the convener of the BJP training cell. Under his leadership, the BJP has seen a steady rise in its members in Kerala, an otherwise anti-BJP State.