Mizoram Governor Kummanam Rajasekharan has resigned nine months into his job to contest the Lok Sabha elections from Kerala. He is likely to fight against Congress parliamentarian Shashi Tharoor from Thiruvananthapuram.
"I have resigned as the party wished that I should be in Kerala. I also wished to be in Kerala and hence I have quit," Mr Rajasekharan told a TV channel in Kerala today, according to news agency IANS.
Mr Rajasekharan was made the chief of the BJP's Kerala unit in 2015 before he was appointed Governor of the north-east state in May last year. President Ram Nath Kovind has accepted his resignation, the Rashtrapti Bhavan said in a statement.
"The senior leader from Kerala will be contesting the Lok Sabha polls," said a source in the BJP who asked not to be named. "Rajasekharan is likely to be pitched against Shashi Tharoor from Thiruvananthapuram."
"This is happy news for the BJP and Sangh Parivar forces," Kerala BJP chief PS Sreedharan Pillai said.
Assam Governor Jagdish Mukhi has been given additional charge of Mizoram, the Rashtrapti Bhavan said.
In 2016, Mr Rajasekharan put up a close fight and finished a close third in Vatiyurkavu assembly seat in Thiruvananthapuram district. The Congress won the seat, while the Communist Party of India (Marxist) candidate finished second.
Shashi Tharoor is a two-term Lok Sabha member representing the Thiruvananthapuram constituency. Following his long career at the United Nations, Mr Tharoor returned to India and was elected to parliament in 2009.
Mr Rajasekharan was a journalist before he joined the Food Corporation of India in 1976. He quit his government job in 1987 and became a full-time social worker.