Like many of other New Zealanders, my first reaction was also Todd who, when Bay of Plenty MP’s name first surfaced as the potential challenger to the position of then-incumbent National Party leader Simon Bridges.
However, where my mind might have deviated from that of other well-meaning New Zealanders who have seen enough ups and downs of politics in this country, including that of the National Party, was the vague resemblance of Todd Muller with the former Prime Minister and formidable Party-leader Sir John Key.
I am not sure if it was just my brain’s extra malleability or heightened imagination or just google doing the trick, but the first picture I saw, of the man, created an impression in my mind that he bore a marked resemblance with the Party’s former leader - who among many things had led the Party back in government after three consecutive electoral drubbings.
Initially, I thought to share that odd feeling with a few people around, just to test the idea, however, I had to quickly roll it back, as there were no-takers of this seemingly far-stretched imagination.
However, now with the battle for National Party leadership having been settled, at least for now, that nagging thought had returned quickly - almost like Todd Muller-like-conviction - to stay here forever (in my case though, just in my mind).
That initial thought which might have precipitated, by what appeared to me - a John Key like smile, towering height and the typical white pakeha man image - had further evolved to a conclusion that Muller has at least one other stark similarity with the former leader - an opportunity to give National Party a completely fresh start.
At least this touted resemblance fits nicely with the Kiwi-Indian community’s tryst with the National Party in the preceding decade, where the Party had been very successful in making major inroads into the community - an electoral constituency that has been otherwise traditionally nurtured by the Labour Party.
Many members of the Kiwi-Indian community who have been in this country for many decades and generations, and have found themselves amused with the sudden bump in the size and the political aspirations of their own community, just in the last decade, would vouch that traditionally the community has found better acceptance and inclusion in the Labour Party.
The Labour Party’s traditional affinity towards the working class and classical-multiculturalism had more takers within the Kiwi-Indian community, which was most decisively visible during their heydays under the then Prime Minister Helen Clark.
However, that was long back then - till the late nineties and early twenty-first century - but as the socio-economic and technological changes unleashed in early nineties after the end of the Cold war and an unbridled march of liberalisation and globalisation, many things changed, including the very composition of our societies and the nation
Since then not only has New Zealand as a nation has become more multicultural and embracing ethnic diversity but also our political processes and institutions have become more inclusive and welcoming for our ethnic communities.
Complementing the changes in the composition of NZ as a nation, the preceding decade has also seen a manifold increase in the size, and the political aspirations of the Kiwi-Indian community.
It was during the time of these momentous changes, and the emergence of Sir John Key - the original effusive-politician of smiles and warm handshakes, before being lately replaced by our own current Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern - that the Kiwi-Indian community took a radical leap towards the National Party.
The fact that Sir John Key led National Party had then elevated the first India-born Kiwi-Indian as the member of the parliament (Kanwaljeet Singh Bakshi), along with Sir John Key’s effusive personality had swung the political leanings of a majority in the community.
However, as stated above - that was then - and now a predominant segment within the Kiwi-Indian community like the rest of New Zealanders seems to adore Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and might be happy to take their votes for her Labour Party.
We like it or not, but that’s how many commentators would agree, is how our Kiwi-Indian community’s tete-e-tete with NZ politics has been.
Regardless, it was under Sir John Key’s leadership of the National Party that the Kiwi-Indian community had forged their connection with the Party, with currently two sitting MPs - a privilege not many other ethnic communities can boast of in recent times.
Since then the community has largely remained connected with the National Party simply because of a follow-up effect after Sir John Key’s leadership and had not seen any mass exodus, even at the times of "Two Chinese are better than one Indian" fiasco under Simon Bridges leadership.
Both of his successors - Sir Bill English and the now removed Simon Bridges inherited the advantage of the momentum from Sir John Key days, with a special mention of Simon Bridges who made some incredible efforts in recent times to continue to forge the ties with the Kiwi-Indian community.
At least within the Kiwi-Indian community, both were enjoying goodwill, and therefore support for the National Party that was largely earned by their former leader Sir John Key.
To some extent, this should also be relevant for the wider New Zealand, where the succession of Sir Bill English and Simon Bridges as the Party leaders - witnessed an unmistakable continuation of the John Key era within the National Party.
Many MPs who were seen as rising stars in Sir John Key’s cabinet such as Amy Adams, Judith Collins, Jonathan Coleman, Maggie Barry, Gerry Brownlee, Paula Bennett and Simon Bridges continued to hog the limelight in English and Bridges cabinet respectively, with many rising to throw their hats in the ring for a leadership challenge.
Now with Simon Bridges gone from the leadership position and the emergence of a truly outsider who has not tasted power within the previous Sir John Key coterie, National Party has the first chance in almost a decade - for a fresh start - just like Key had in 2006 when he had a first go at the party leadership.
However, nothing said above will put Muller in the league of Sir John Key unless proven otherwise, and clearly he is not as fortunate as Key himself was in being pitied against a first-term government with a Prime Minister with historically high popularity that is refusing to subside.
In the coming days and months, while the nation will wait to hear and see the alternative plan Mr Muller presents to the nation, it would be interesting to observe if he eventually emerges as National Party’s new Sir John Key.