BJP state chief Kummanam Rajasekharan ’s elevation to a constitutional position has not only sprung a surprise for the state unit but can also prove crucial in Kerala’s bipolar politics.
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: BJP state chief Kummanam Rajasekharan ’s elevation to a constitutional position has not only sprung a surprise for the state unit but can also prove crucial in Kerala’s bipolar politics. It has also opened up the avenue for a new BJP chief. A couple of leaders, including K Surendran and M T Ramesh, are the front-runners for the post.
Determined to find a foothold in the state, the saffron party has been throwing quite a few surprises in recent times. It began with actor Suresh Gopi being nominated to the Rajya Sabha. Later, in yet another surprise call, bureaucrat-turned-politician Alphons Kannanthanam was made Union Minister of State for Tourism. It was only recently the BJP huddled in senior leader V Muraleedharan to the Rajya Sabha from Maharashtra. Now, in an unexpected turn of events, 65-year-old Kummanam has been made the Governor of Mizoram.
“Naturally, a leader with integrity was identified. Yet another leader from Kerala has been given a prominent position. This should be viewed as the importance being given by the party to Kerala. Northeast being a turbulent area, a senior leader with integrity was chosen,” said Muraleedharan.
Kummanam’s appointment has also opened up the avenue for a new BJP chief. Surendran, Ramesh and Sobha Surendran are in the race. With senior leaders shifting to the national level, fractional equations within the party are bound to change.
A decision on the new president will be taken by the party central leadership in due course of time. Surendran, with the backing of the prominent Muraleedharan camp, may come to the top position.
According to a senior party leader, the national leadership wants a more aggressive leader to take the reins of the party ahead of the 2019 general elections. You can expect more surprises during the next one year, he said. Amit Shah is reportedly not happy with the soft stance of Kummanam Rajasekharan. The elevation of Muraleedharan as Rajya Sabha member has altered the group equations within the party and there are indications Amit Shah will favour Surendran.“I am not aware of any move to appoint me as state president. Till now the national leadership has not contacted me. But if the party asks me, I am ready to shoulder any responsibility, Surendran told Express.
Earlier, there were indications Kummanam Rajasekharan would be elevated to the national level. It is learnt the BJP central leadership wanted Kummanam Rajasekharan to be placed in an important role. The unexpected move assumes significance in the backdrop of the forthcoming Chengannur bypoll. Whether the decision will be reflected in the by-election is something to be seen.CPM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, however, said the appointment would not reflect in any way in Chengannur.
“Such appointments will not have any impact as far as the bypoll is concerned. This will only address BJP’s internal factional war,” Kodiyeri said. Kummanam Rajasekharan, meanwhile, said he was yet to get official confirmation about the appointment. “I am not officially intimated yet. I neither sought this post nor did I wish for it,” he added.
The reluctant politician
T’Puram: The 65-year-old has always been Sangh Parivar’s go-to man when it came to channelising public support for furthering the cause of the organisation. Coming into the Sangh fold during his student days, he has been closely associated with several agitations launched by the Parivar organisations. His major break came in 1978 when he was appointed as Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s Kottayam district secretary. Owing to his wish to become a full-time pracharak, he resigned from his job in the Food Corporation of India. His claim to fame was the Nilackal agitation in 1983 in which he served as the general convenor of the action council. After becoming the general convenor of Hindu Aikya Vedi in 1992, he became the face of the organisation and had also served as the editor of RSS mouthpiece Janmabhumi. Though his first tryst with electoral politics was in 1987 as the Hindu Munnani candidate in Thiruvananthapuram East, he was always reluctant to wear the mantle of a politician till BJP supremo Amit Shah anointed him the head of the state unit riddled with factionalism.