The removal of Kummanam Rajasekharan from the post of BJP state president in May 2018 could be termed as unceremonious. Though he was given a plum post as the Governor of Mizoram, the move of the party leadership when the campaign for the Chengannur bye-election was at its peak, surprised many especially the party rank and file in the state.
Kummanamâ€™s name has now been brought to the limelight in political discussions as the probable BJP candidate to contest from Thiruvananthapuram. The discussions have been revolving around whether Kummanam will be back before completing a year in the Governorâ€™s post.
However, both the party state leadership and Kummanam himself have not confirmed on the candidature.
Even in 2015, the party's choice to elevate Kummanam as head of the state unit had an element of surprise for he was not one who was directly associated with the BJP. Kummanam had been holding top posts of Hindu Aikya Vedi, an organisation standing for hardcore Hindutva ideologies and that of Viswa Hindu Parishad. And Kummanam has always been associated with those ideologies which eventually made him the choice for president of the BJP state unit, bypassing several leaders within the party who were aspirants for the post.
In his three-year tenure, Kummanam had been a dynamic head. But like his predecessors, he also failed to gain what the party wanted the most- winning elections. Though in 2016 assembly elections, the party opened its account in the state with senior leader O Rajagopal winning from the Nemom constituency, the victory should be attributed more to the popular image of Rajagopal.
Kummanam himself contested the elections from the Vattiyoorkavu constituency in Thiruvananthapuram. Vattiyoorkavu was one of the constituencies on which the BJP had pinned high hopes then, as it is now doing on Thiruvananthapuram. The constituency witnessed a triangular fight, for the opponents of Kummanam were prominent figures - V Muaraleedharan of the Congress and TN Seema of the CPI (M).
He gave a tough fight and came second by winning 43.7% votes. Muraleedharan, who was the winning candidate, secured 51% votes. This will weigh heavily in favour of Kummanam being the party's choice, if they do ultimately decide to field him in Thiruvananthapuram for the Lok Sabha elections as well.
Thiruvananthapuram witnessed consistent and strong protests against the entry of young women into the Sabarimala temple and Kummanam, if fielded, could prove to be the right choice in winning over a section of the Hindu votes, which could prove decisive in the elections.
However, Kummanam and the party leadership havenâ€™t revealed their plans yet. He is on a visit to the state now and has reportedly said that he is ready to return to politics but that it is for the party to decide.
BJP President PS Sreedharan Pillai denied reports on the candidature of Kummanam. â€śWe havenâ€™t finalised the name of anyone. We can send proposals to the Central leadership and it is for them to decide. We have sent a proposal,â€ť he told TNM.
â€śIt is the internal discussions of the party if someone is contesting or not. I canâ€™t tell you if Kummanam is the proposal we have sent or who else is there. It is too early to disclose such details. The Central leadership will examine the proposal and the decision will be based on many criteria,â€ť Sreedharan Pillai further said.