Mohanlal to Sitharaman; BJP mulls fight for Tharoor

PTI file photo

The BJP, which is hoping to open its account in the Lok Sabha polls in Kerala, seems to be adopting a feeler strategy to zero-in on the most winnable candidate for the Thiruvananthapuram constituency.

While sitting MP, Shashi Tharoor of the Congress, is eyeing a hat-trick, the BJP is yet to finalise a candidate from a long list of probables, including actor Mohanlal, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharam, actor-turned-Rajya Sabha MP Suresh Gopi, former police chief T P Senkumar, former scientist Nambi Narayanan and Mizoram Governor Kummanam Rajasekharan.

Sources say that the BJP camp is sending out names of the high-profile candidates to obtain feedback. The saffron party is expected to choose a candidate after assessing how the public reacts to the names.

However, several BJP leaders have maintained a stoic silence when rumours spread about the probable candidate.

A couple of month's ago, Mohanlal's name was doing the rounds but the actor denied it.

Over the last couple of days, senior BJP leader O Rajagopal again triggered Mohanlal's name by telling a section of media that the actor could be considered as the party's choice.

Nirmala's name began doing the rounds recently but she is learnt to have expressed her unwillingness to contest from Thiruvananthapuram.

During the Ockhi disaster, Nirmala was able to console the families of fishermen in the coastal belt of Thiruvananthapuram when even Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan faced stiff protests. This was one reason for triggering her name.

The BJP is at present lacking a highly presentable local candidate. Rajagopal gave a tough fight to Tharoor in 2014 by reducing the victory margin from about 1 lakh in 2009 to 15,000. In 2016, he went on to win the Assembly polls to become the BJP's first MLA in Kerala.

The party is also considering the option of bringing back former state president and present Mizoram Governor Kummanam Rajasekharan who gave an impressive performance in the 2016 Assembly polls by emerging second in Thiruvananthapuram Assembly constituency. The BJP's firebrand leader K Surednran's name is also under consideration.

The considerable Hindu population is a major factor for the BJP in Thiruvananthapuram constituency, especially in the backdrop of the Sabarimala controversy.

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Mohanlal to Sitharaman; BJP mulls fight for Tharoor

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