The two best-known faces of the Bharatiya Janata Party in Kerala—Veteran O Rajagopal and the vibrant Kummanam Rajasekharan—are fondly addressed “Rajettan” by the party’s sympathisers. To understand the influence Kummanam Rajasekharan wields on Kerala’s right-wing and Hindu organisations, one needs to take into account his activism for the past 40 years.
From being the leader of the Nilakkal agitation in the early eighties to being the head of the Hindu Aikya Vedi, Kummanam ji is one of the most well-recognised ‘Hindu faces’ in the state. As someone who knows him closely, Kummanam ji is truly a venerable figure who is genuinely pluralistic and keeps close ties with all communities. As voters of Thiruvananthapuram, we were genuinely torn between Kummanam ji and global citizen Shashi Tharoor ji during the Lok Sabha elections. Dr Shashi Tharoor too has acknowledged the regard he has for Kummanam ji on many occasions.
People like me have respectfully criticised Kummanam ji that he should have resigned the post of Mizoram Governor and come back to lead the Sabarimala protests in the wake of the Supreme Court order last year. Maybe, the party did not give consent—else, the Kummanam Chettan we all know, would have happily served the cause of the temple, than remain a Governor elsewhere.