Thiruvananthapuram: With Kerala BJP president P.S.Sreedharan Pillai appointed as the new Mizoram Governor, search has started to find his replacement with senior leaders K.Surendran, M.T.Ramesh, Sobha Surendran and Kummanem Rajasekheran among the front-runners.
The Kerala unit of the BJP has two power centres -- one led by Union Minister of State for External Affairs V.Muraleedharan and the other led by former state party president P.K.Krishnadas -- and the race is between the two to get their nominee to the party top's post.
While Ramesh and Sobha are from Krishnadas' camp, Surendran is a diehard supporter of Muraleedharan, who as a Union Minister has an edge in lobbying, which is likely to shift to Delhi in the coming days.
As the only women on the list, Sobha has a chance but razor sharp tongue may be her undoing. Surendran's chances are likely to be spoilt by his controversial statements that have caught him on the backfoot a few times.
Though all the names in the reckoning have good links with the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS), a must now for the party chief to have a smooth sailing, barring Rajasekheran, who has had a term as Kerala BJP chief, all are under below the age of 50.
Though Rajasekheran has told the media that he has always been a disciplined party worker, indicating his willingness to take over the post, sources close to the veteran say he is not that keen on a full fledged political career and wishes to pursue his interest in environment and other social causes.
It remains to be seen if Rajasekheran will turn out to be the dark horse.