Thiruvananthapuram: Kummanam Rajasekharan, a full-time RSS pracharak, has been appointed as the new president of the state unit of BJP. He will take charge on Saturday.
Mr Rajasekharan’s name was announced by BJP national president Amit Shah in Delhi after a series of discussions between the state and central leaderships over the past two days.
The central leadership of the party also appointed outgoing state party chief V Muraleedharan as party in charge of forthcoming Assembly elections in the state in 2016.
In a way the appointment is also an advance birthday gift for Kummanam who turns 63 next Wednesday.
Though several names were discussed for the top post during the several rounds of discussions held in Kerala and Delhi, the choice came down to Mr Rajasekharan and R Balasankar, baudhik pramukh and editor of RSS mouthpiece Organiser.
However, majority of the state leaders were not in favour of having a person who has no work experience in the state at the helm of the organisation especially ahead of the Assembly polls.
The names of BJP national executive council members P. K. Krishnadas and Sobha Surendran and BJP vice-president M. T. Ramesh were also discussed. However, because of the intense factionalism in the state unit a consensus could not be reached on any of these leaders.
Mr Rajasekharan is seen as a binding force because of his close connections with various Sangh Parivar organisations. As the main propagandist of Hindu Aikya Vedi he also enjoys close links with community organisations like NSS,SNDP and KPMS.
By bringing in Mr Rajasekharan, the central leadership also wants to put an end to factionalism in the state. Besides, his appointment is also seen as move to woo the Nair community.
Long road a pracharak travelled
From an ordinary RSS worker to the state BJP chief, Mr Kummanam Rajashekharan has worn many hats during his more than three-decade journey as a Sangh Parivar activist.
Mr Kummanam, a bachelor, is the state general secretary of Hindu Aikya Vedi, Ayyappa Seva Sanghom and chairman of Janmabhumi newspaper. As one of the chief patrons of the anti-airport agitation in Aranmula, he played a key role in the success of the stir.
After schooling from Government UP School Kummanam, he did BSc in botany from CMS college, Kottayam, and then took postgraduate diploma in journalism. He came into contact with the RSS during his student days.
He secured a job in the Food Corporation of India (FCI) but resigned to become a wholetime RSS pracharak. His foray into electoral politics was way back in the 1987 Assembly polls as a candidate of Hindu Munani from Thiruvananthapuram East. He came second to Mr K. Sankaranarayana Pillai of the Congress.
He had a long stint with journalism starting as sub- editor with Deepika in 1974 and later with Rashtra Vartha, Kerala Desham, Kerala Bhushanam and Dhwani.
Mr Kummanam shot into limelight in the 1983 march following the Nilackal agitation. A Christian priest claimed that two members of his Parish had found a cross installed by St Thomas near Nilackal Mahadeva temple. The Hindus consider this place and 18 adjoining hills as Poonkavanam of Lord Ayyappa.
When there was an attempt to construct a church, the Hindu organisations launched an agitation for following which the Church abandoned the move. Mr Kummanam was the general convenor of the Nilackal Action Council.
He became the general convenor of Hindu Aikya Vedi in 1992, organising secretary of VHP in 1996 and was also the general convenor of Sivagiri agitation to protest against the removal of Swami Prakashananda from the post of president in 1998. He also led the agitations in Marad following communal violence.
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