THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The BJP is likely to field senior leader Kummanam Rajasekharan in Vattiyoorkavu in the assembly by-election to be held on October 21.
K Surendran and Sobha Surendran are being seriously considered for Manjeshwar and Konni. Sobha is the frontrunner for Konni. PK Krishnadas and Ravisha Tantri Kuntar are the two other names being discussed for Manjeshwar. In Ernakulam, it could be AN Radhakrishnan, CG Rajagopal or B Gopalakrishnan. The BJP core committee meeting in Kochi on Sunday decided to forward the list to New Delhi for final clearance after getting the state NDA leadership’s approval.
After quitting as Mizoram governor, Kummanam challenged Shashi Tharoor in Thiruvananthapuram in the Lok Sabha elections. He lost but cut the Congress candidate’s lead to 2,836 in the Vattiyoorkavu assembly constituency. In the 2016 assembly election, Kummanam had lost to K Muraleedharan (Cong) by 7,622 votes
While Kummanam was hesitant to contest once again, the leadership of the BJP and RSS were keen on capitalising on the popularity of the veteran leader who has been a sangh pracharak for the past several years and a driving force of the Hindutva movement in the state. Moreover, Kummanam has always been a darling of the sangh cadre, who identify him as one among them.
It was the RSS leadership which had asked him to contest from Thiruvananthapuram in the general elections. The BJP leadership is trying to capitalise on the Ezhava factor in Konni, which had backed Congress leader Adoor Prakash in the last five assembly elections.
While Sobha is the frontrunner for the seat, Surendran is also being considered as he had given Congress candidate Anto Antony a tough chase in the constituency during the Lok Sabha elections. The presence of Ezhava community will be an added advantage for Sobha or Surendran. Manjeshwar was where Surendran had lost to IUML’s PB Abdul Razak by 89 votes.