The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has asserted its supremacy with the selection of Kummanam Rajasekharan as the BJP candidate from Thiruvanthapuram.
Kummanam's candidature was in the air for quite some time though infighting in the state BJP leadership had dimmed his chances of getting back to Kerala politics. Finally, RSS had its say and Kummanam submitted his resignation as Governor of Mizoram which has been accepted by the President.
With Kummanam entering the poll fray, the contest in Thiruvananthapuram gets stronger and will make it a triangular contest in the truest sense. For Congress candidate Shashi Tharoor, who is eyeing a hat-trick, it is not going to be all that easy now.
The CPI, which was accused of putting up a weak candidate in the 2014 election, is to field C Divakaran, a former Minister, making clear its intention to put up a fight this time. As has been the design of the ruling Left Democratic Front to try its hand by even putting up MLAs with winnability prospects, Divakaran has been one such choice.
Tharoor was overweighed by the anti-incumbency factor last time and also had to put up with allegations in the Sunanda death case.
This time, Tharoor, who scraped through in 2014 after BJP's trump card O Rajagopal put up tough fight, was expecting to play the Sabarimala card in a constituency which has sizeable Hindu voters. But Kummanam is set to take away a share from this. The LDF sees this as an advantage.
The RSS decision to field Kummanam, who has been its voice in Kerala, was to assert its dominance over the faction-riddled BJP state leadership. Though a surprise choice for the state president of the BJP in 2015, Kummanam’s biggest achievement was the party opening its account in the Kerala Assembly.
However, he failed to control factionalism in the state leadership which saw him being kicked up in 2018 as Governor of Mizoram. All factions in the party have had their share in his unceremonious exit from Kerala politics.
His return to the State was a demand of the RSS which the BJP central leadership has heeded. Several state BJP leaders had indirectly hinted that the decision to send Kummanam as Governor was that of the central leadership and bringing him back in hardly a year was improbable. He has proved them wrong and is expected to make the Thiruvanthapuram contest the hottest in Kerala.