PATHANAMTHITTA: Kummanam Rajasekharan may be an odd man out in the present day politics. Kummanam kept himself away from the rush for the party’s state president post with a monkish indifference before eventually assuming the hot seat.
Those who question Kummanam’s political lineage might have been forgotten about the time when he jolted both UDF and LDF in an election battle. As the Hindu Munnani candidate, the firebrand leader, then in his mid-30s, finished runner-up in Thiruvananthapuram East constituency in 1987, when the BJP was in its political infancy in the state. He even had quit the job with the Food Corporation of India to contest in the polls.
Since then, the celibate kept himself away from power politics, declining to contest again. He was a bit reluctant to assume the political mantle which he had left 28 years ago, once again. However, a fighter and a game changer, who accomplished all the missions he undertook in the last three and half decades, Kummanam could not have warded off the temptation to scale down another challenge.
A native of Kummanam near Kottayam and son of Ramakrishna Pillai a former president of the NSS Taluk Union, Rajasekharan grabbed the political limelight when he led the Nilackal agitation - a milestone in the Hindu upsurge in the state.
However, Kummanam began his career as a journalist. A graduate in Botany from the CMS College, Kottayam, and a post graduate in journalism, Kummanam cut his teeth as a scribe with the oldest daily in Malayalam - Deepika.
Kummanam’s career soon entered the political track, joining the Viswa Hindu Parishad. The words of Swami Chinmayananda too acted as a motivation.
Though he did not contest again in the elections after his try at Thiruvananthapuram, Kummanam remained active. He became a RSS pracharak and was the brain behind the inception of Hindu Aikya Vedi, a forum dedicated to bring together various sections of the Hindu society.
Soft spoken and gentle he may be, but Kummanam has been widely considered as the face of the hardline Hindutwa in the state. But that mask of toughness hides a sagacious side.
His role in dousing the communal tension following the Marad massacre in 2003 was noticed across the state. Kummanam convinced the Sangh Parivar to choose a path of peace during those troubled times. He also worked persistently to sanction compensation to the families of the victims.
His active involvement in the protest against the Aranmula airport project brought to light a leader of masses. He mobilised people, cutting across several barriers, against the project. Under his leadership, the Left, a section of Congress, Church and Greens, worked tirelessly against the project.
None has forgotten his role. On Saturday, the day when Kummanam assumes the office as BJP state president, 100 ladies will offer prayers at Aranmula. They have also gifted him a pen, finest crumb of memory for a politician who once was a journalist.