With the BJP's top leadership dropping enough hints that its leaders in the Rajya Sabha should get ready to contest the Lok Sabha polls next year, a battle royale could be in the offing amid speculations that Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman may be fielded from the Thiruvanthapuram against its three-time Congress MP Shashi Tharoor.
Thiruvananthapuram Lok Sabha seat, which Tharoor has been representing consecutively since 2009, is the only seat of the 20 in the Kerala where the BJP finished second in 2019, while in the rest, it was a poor third.
The name of Sitharaman has been doing the rounds ever since she came down and went around the Ockhi hit coastal hamlets in the state capital city in 2017 and when many thought she would be fielded in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. Another advantage for Sitharaman is she hails from nearby Madurai in Tamil Nadu and speaks Malayalam also.
However it did not materialise as former state BJP president Kummanem Rajashekeran, who was then serving as Mizoram Governor, quit his post and was fielded. He did finish second but trailed Tharoor, who led in all the seven assembly constituencies which form the Lok Sabha seat, by a lakh of votes.
The BJP national leadership has identified a few seats where they feel they have a chance, but Thiruvananthapuram is perhaps the only one where they feel they can win. But for this a national figure from the BJP has to be fielded, as there is hardly anyone with such a stature in its Kerala unit.
Meanwhile even though the naming of candidates will take a while, the BJP state leadership, according to state President K. Surendran, have hit the campaign trail already.