BN has announced that Kedah Umno liaison committee deputy chairperson Mukhriz Mahathir will be moved to contest in Ayer Hitam state seat in the May 5 general election.
The announcement further fuels speculation that the incumbent Jerlun MP is being slated for the Kedah menteri besar post should BN succeed in taking over the state.
The Ayer Hitam state seat is located under the Jerlun parliamentary constituency.
Meanwhile, Kedah BN liaison chief Ahmad Bashah Md Hanipah will defend his Bakar Bata state seat.
Former Kedah Menteri Besar Mahdzir Khalid, who is the incumbent Pedu assemblyperson, will move to the parliamentary seat of Padang Terap.
These seat allocations could also heighten infighting within the state Umno machinery for the post of MB ahead of the general election.
This is among supporters of Mukhriz and Ahmad Bashah, as well as with a third group said to be opposing former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Mukhriz’s father Mahathir reigned as the nation’s longest-serving prime minister for 22 years and remains popular in Kedah, where he was born.
According to a survey by Universiti Utara Malaysia last year, BN would more likely recapture PAS-held Kedah should it field Mukhriz as a menteri besar candidate.
Meanwhile, another survey by Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia shows that Mukhriz as MB could sway "fence-sitters" to favour the BN.
At the parliamentary level, caretaker Minister in the Prime Minister's Department in charge of Islamic affairs, Jamil Khir Baharom, will contest in the Jerai parliamentary seati, while caretaker Housing and Local Government Minister Chor Chee Heung will defend his Alor Setar seat.
'Candidates to face Pakatan big guns'
Caretaker Deputy Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry Minister Mohd Johari Baharom will defend his seat of Kubang Pasu, while former Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Heng Seai Kie, a senator, will now vie for the Padang Serai parliamentary seat.
The MCA Wanita vice-president will go against PKR vice-president N Surendran in the seat that was previously won by PKR's N Gobalakrishnan, who has since quit the party.
The Council of Former People's Representatives Malaysia (Mubarak) vice-president Othman Abdul will come out of retirement to take on PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu in Pendang.
PAS was short of just 50 votes in capturing Pendang in the 2004 general election, but BN solidified its position in 2008 by keeping the parliamentary seat with a 4,073-vote majority.
Meanwhile, caretaker Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak's political secretary Sahlan Ismail Nasution - brother of PKR secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution - has been tasked to take back the parliamentary seat of Pokok Sena from PAS.
Saifuddin himself will be contesting in Kedah, but in the Kulim-Bandar Baru parliamentary seat, against Umno's Abdul Aziz Sheikh Fadzir, who is the parliamentary coordinator there.
Kedah BN candidates