Conceding to the pressure from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) as well as a section of prominent State BJP leaders, the national leadership has decided to field Kummanam Rajasekharan from the Thiruvananthapuram Lok Sabha constituency, which is being deemed as one of its strongholds in the State.
The State leadership, though welcomed the decision, was not keen on giving him an opportunity and had also initiated disciplinary action against State spokesperson M.S. Kumar who publicly expressed his view that the cadre as well as a prominent section in the party strongly hold that Mr. Rajasekharan will be the ideal candidate in the election.
The national leadership is understood to have ignored the reported diffidence of a section of the State leaders and decided to offer him yet another chance to run from the capital.
Party sources told The Hindu that the central leadership was aware that many party leaders who are currently holding gubernatorial positions in different States were nursing political ambitions and picking up Mr. Rajasekharan alone for the electoral race may not go down well with others. Moreover, Mizoram being a border State, the national leaders were not keen on upsetting the regime there.
But the process of candidate selection in the State itself had triggered a row with the leadership preparing a list of probables without consultations. Finally, it was forced to elicit the opinion of workers and leaders in all the 20 segments.
When designated leaders sought the suggestions of leaders, a majority of them in Thiruvananthapuram are learnt to have proposed the candidature of Mr. Rajasekharan and also that of some young leaders in the district. Ultimately, the national leadership zeroed in on Mr. Rajasekharan.
Since the RSS is holding the key in candidate selection and campaigning, the BJP national leadership could ill-afford to ignore its suggestions and go ahead by relying on the party machinery alone. The notice served on Mr. Kumar for expressing the desire to have Mr. Rajasekharan as candidate also came as an indication of the mood prevailing in the State leadership, sources said.
Mr. Rajasekharan has tendered his resignation and is expected to reach here within two or three days for hitting the campaign trail.