The newly-appointed chief of BJP’s Kerala unit, Kummanam Rajasekharan, has played a pivotal role in strengthening the Sangh parivar in the state for the past 35 years and is seen as the state’s most radical Hindu face.
However, the man, chosen months ahead of the assembly polls, has never been a functionary within the party. Rajasekharan has been the general secretary of Hindu Aikya Vedi (HAV), a platform of various Hindu organisations that was formed in 1992 to “protect Hindus, their culture, heritage and temples”.
Born at Kummanam village in Kottayam district in an upper caste Nair family, Rajasekharan was with the RSS from his school days. After his graduation and a diploma in journalism, he joined Catholic daily Deepika as a journalist in 1974. He worked with other local dailies till 1976 when he got a job with Food Corporation of India.
In 1979, Rajasekharan became the Kottayam district secretary of VHP and went on to become its state joint secretary in 1981 and state organising secretary in 1996. Meanwhile, he had quit FCI in 1987 to become a full-time pracharak.
Rajasekharan, who is unmarried, came into limelight during the Nilakkal Hindu-Christian conflict of 1983. Christians wanted to build a church at Nilakkal, a Hindu pilgrim centre, after they reportedly found a cross near a temple.
When the issue snowballed into a major conflict, Rajasekharan, then a state-level functionary of VHP, took up the mantle of the general convener of the Nilakkal Action Council, which comprised representatives of all Hindu organisations.
He was actively involved in several agitations to “protect” temples and rights of devotees.
Rajasekharan launched dedicated squads across Kerala to enlighten Hindus against conversion. Last week, he led a march to the secretariat, demanding action against Chief Secretary Jiji Thomson for “promoting evangelism”.