Former Kerala BJP president Kummanam Rajasekharan on Friday resigned as the Governor of Mizoram, triggering speculation that he may be the BJP’s candidate from Thiruvananthapuram in the upcoming Lok Sabha election.
“The President has accepted the resignation of Shri Kummanam Rajasekharan as Governor of Mizoram,” a release from the Rashtrapati Bhavan said on Friday. It also said Assam Governor Jagdish Mukhi had been given additional responsibility of Mizoram Governor until a regular arrangement was made.
If the BJP fields Rajasekharan from Thiruvananthpuram, it would indicate that the party is making an all-out attempt to win the seat, where its candidate put up a strong fight and emerged runner-up in the last two Lok Sabha polls. BJP’s lone legislator in the Assembly O Rajagopal was the party’s candidate from Thiruvananthapuram in the 2009 and 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
This time, the BJP-RSS leadership has been scouting for a strong candidate for the seat, where the party’s stakes are high. Although several names came up, the infighting-ridden state BJP leadership could not reach a consensus on any candidate. The resentment within the party recently came to the fore when party veteran P P Mukundan said workers were being neglected and unilaterally announced his intention to contest from Thiruvananthapuram.
Rajasekharan’s entry to the poll fray would set the stage for a triangular contest in the seat, where Congress is set to field sitting MP Shashi Tharoor and the LDF has nominated CPI legislator C Divakaran.
In the state capital, particularly in the urban areas, the BJP has a strong support base. In the 2016 Assembly election, Rajasekharan contested from Vattiyoorkkavu segment, an urban constituency, and finished second, pushing the CPM candidate to the third slot.
When he was appointed the state BJP president in 2015, Rajasekharan was the general secretary of Hindu Aikya Vedi, a platform of various Hindu organisations that was formed in 1992 to “protect Hindus, their culture, heritage and temples’’. This is significant because in the upcoming election, the BJP will be looking to gain from its campaign against the entry of young women to Sabarimala temple.
Rajasekharan came to limelight during the Nilakkal Hindu-Christian conflict of 1983 in which Christians wanted to build a church at Nilakkal, a Hindu pilgrimage centre, after they reportedly found a cross near a temple.
He had also led the agitation against the construction of a new airport at central Kerala’s Aranmula village after it was found that the project will affect a famous Hindu temple. It was from this background of agitation that Rajasekharan made his way to become the state president of BJP in 2015 when the party was divided over finding a new president instead of incumbent V Muraleedharan. At the time, the former RSS pracharak had never been a functionary in the BJP. Rajasekharan was appointed Governor of Mizoram in May 2018. With ENS Delhi