Thiruvananthapuram: Kummanam Rajasekharan, a full-time RSS pracharak, was appointed the new president of the BJP's Kerala unit on Friday, a development that came as a surprise for BJP activists here.
Rajasekharan's name was announced in Delhi by the national leadership of the Bharatiya Janata Party.
The BJP activists here were not aware that the serving Hindu Aikya Vedi State general secretary Rajasekharan will be the new state party chief.
The journalist-turned-Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) pracharak (volunteer) turns 63 next Wednesday.
Born in village Aymanem - the setting of Arundhati Roy's Booker Prize winning novel "The God of Small Things" - in Kottayam district, Rajasekharan after his graduation took up journalism and two years later, he took up a full-time job with the Food Corporation of India.
He left it after a decade and entered the political arena when he was the Hindu Munnani candidate in the 1987 assembly polls. He was runners-up from an assembly constituency in the capital city and since then he has been a full-time RSS pracharak.
The BJP is keen to open its account in Kerala, either in the state assembly or parliament.
With less than six months to go for the assembly polls to be held here, the BJP leaders expect that by naming Rajasekharan the party unit chief, the party can take along various Hindu organisations in the state and may do well in the 140-member assembly.
Rajasekharan will assume charge at the state party headquarters here late Friday evening, soon after arriving from Delhi.
He succeeds V.Muraleedharan, who had two terms as the head of the party unit here.