Political observers view the move of Subash Vasu, the state general secretary of Bharat Dharma Jana Sena (BDJS) teaming up with former Kerala Police Chief T P Senkumar, who has taken a pro-Sangh Parivar stand after he retired from service, as as an attempt to split the BDJS, the political arm of Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana (SNDP) Yogam, a powerful social organization.
Vasu, who is the latest to rebel against SNDP and BDJS leadership has further intensified his rebellion by teaming up with Senkumar. At a presser conducted along with Senkumar in Thiruvanathapuram Press Club the other day, Vasu kept alive different charges he had earlier raised against SNDP Yogam general secretary, Vellappally Natesan.
Vasu called Natesan the most corrupt person in the country accusing him of collecting large donations for educational institutions. The duo alleged that Sree Narayana (SN) Trust based in Kollam which runs colleges and schools is collecting crores of rupees for the admission and for posting of teachers. Senkumar alleged that the corruption was to the tune of Rs 1,600 crore by the way of collecting donations without giving proper receipts.
“Natesan’s family has made Yogam and the Trust a family property and has not given any proper account of where thousands of crores of rupees collected as donations has gone. They also need to make it clear the details of the loans given by SNDP unions at high interest rates by availing loans from Kerala State Backward Classes Development Corporation at a low interest rate of four percent,” Senkumar said.
According to Vasu, he had the support of majority of the unions out of the 136 unions of the Yogam and the proof regarding the allegations of rampant corruption against Natesan would emerge in the coming days. “I have the support of M K Sanu (veteran writer and critic), Gokulam Gopalan (business tycoon who had earlier parted ways with Natesan and Yogam), Biju Ramesh (complainant in the bar scam involving late finance minister K M Mani),” Vasu said.
He also said that either state or central agencies like CBI should investigate the mysterious death by drowning death of Swami Saswathikananda in the Periyar River, Aluva nearly two decades ago along with the accidental deaths of Swami’s cook and the son of former SNDP Yogam president C K Vidyasagar, who had once led a rebellion against Natesan.
Rumblings in SNDP had begun last month with the Yogam dissolving Mavelikkara Union headed by Vasu alleging financial misappropriation. Senkumar said that Natesan and his family had been at the helm of both Yogam and the Trust for the past 24 years and several bogus voters were created to vote in support of Natesan and those close to his family to become functionaries of Yogam during elections.
“In light of all these allegations Natesan needs to keep away from official duties of Yogam for three months and let an retired judge conduct free and fair elections to SNDP Yogam. If Natesan wins again, let everyone accept him as the leader of the Yogam and Trust,” Senkumar said.
Vasu before starting the internal feud in the Yogam had resigned from the post of chairman of Spices Board, a post he was offered by BJP-NDA as his party BDJS is a constituent of NDA.
Responding to the allegations raised by Vasu, Thushar Vellappally said that he had already replied to such allegations and Vasu would be soon expelled from BDJS as well. He was expelled by SNDP Yogam earlier for financial irregularities, Thushar said.
Politics behind rebellion
While Natesan seen as cozying up to Chief Minister, Pinarayi Vijayan, his son Thushar Vellapally is the state convener of BJP-led NDA. The father-son duo is upset with BJP and had made it clear several times that their party BDJS was not given due posts in boards and corporations under the control of the union government.
Their discontent was evident in the byelections results. In the Pala, Aroor and Vattiyoorkavu by-polls held last year, the SNDP-Ezhava votes did not consolidate as in 2016 in favour of BDJS and BJP. In both these constituencies, BDJS allegedly was not active in the campaign and Ezhava votes were cast in favour of either UDF or LDF candidates and the NDA-BJP vote share also witnessed a considerable decline as compared to 2016 assembly polls.
Vasu says that his decision to call out Natesan was with the aim of saving the Yogam from the corrupt hands of Natasen and his family members and, there is no political ambitions behind it. A clear political picture is expected to emerge before the by-elections to be held for the Kuttanad assembly constituency due to the demise of sitting MLA Thomas Chandy.
In 2016, Subash Vasu who was then the right-hand man of Natesan, had polled more than 33,044 votes for BDJS in the constituency against the 4,395 votes the BJP candidate got in 2011. The state BJP is keeping a telling silence over the feud in Yogam and in BDJS.
“It is an internal matter of BDJS and we have decided not to intervene,” B Gopalakrishnan, one of the BJP’s state spokespersons said.
But, political observers view the rebel movement in SNDP and BDJS as a ploy of BJP to put pressure on Natesan and Thushar who are likely to bargain hard by citing the Ezhava votes in the polls to civic bodies later this year and the assembly polls to be held in 2021.