Political Stalwarts of Kerala

K.R. Gowri

Kerala stalwarts left cooling their heels… .reports Sanu George 

They are considered stalwarts in the political arena of Kerala but have been left high and dry by the two rival fronts for the state assembly elections.

The list includes former communists K.R. Gowri, 95, who has contested every election starting from the first; eight-time legislator R. Balakrishna Pillai, 82, whose party has been accommodated as a friendly ally by the CPI-M, which has given a seat only to his son, three-time legislator K.B.Ganesh Kumar; six-time legislator P.C. George, 64; three-time legislator Johnny Nelloor, 65; and two-time legislator V. Surendran Pillai, 60.

K.R. Gowri
K.R. Gowri

Gowri, who left the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) in 1994, formed her own party-Janaathipathiya Samrakshana Samithy (JSS) and till 2011 was a strong ally of the Congress led-United Democratic Front (UDF). After her defeat in the 2011 polls, she has been playing truant and as a result her party split many times, and last year she expressed her desire to return to the CPI-M.

And after a gap of two decades, the veteran last month came to her old party headquarters in the state capital and held talks with the CPI-M leadership. She was expecting to get a seat, but her hopes were dashed early this week when the CPI-M decided not to give her a seat. “I was cheated by them, and now I will make my own decision,” said Gowri.

Pillai, one of the founding leaders of the UDF, decided to leave the bloc last year and was waiting at the door steps of the Left. But he was rubbed the wrong way when the CPI-M decided to give a seat only to his son. They were not keen to give Pillai a seat as in 2011 he was jailed in a corruption case that was pursued by former chief minister V.S. Achuthanandan.

Nelloor is chairman of UDF ally Kerala Congress (Jacob) and has contested every election since 1991, but lost in 2006 and 2011. This time, the UDF decided to give his party only one seat – to Minister of State for Civil Supplies Anoop Jacob, who will contest from the traditional Piravom constituency.

“This is the biggest political treason done by the Congress party. I stood like a rock with them when their ministers got entangled in several corruption cases, and now they have left me high and dry,” said Nelloor.

Former minister Surendran Pillai’s party Kerala Congress has all along been an ally of the LDF. But this time his party was given just one seat, and that has been taken away by his party chairman.

“I never expected that our party would be given just one seat,” said a shocked Surendran Pillai, who was a minister in the Achuthanandan cabinet.

Surendran Pillai
Surendran Pillai

On Saturday, Surendran Pillai, after meeting up with his supporters, told reporters that he has decided to step down as the working chairman of the Kerala Congress.

“A few have got in touch with us and we will make a considered decision and will be in the fray this time,” said Pillai.

Likewise Nelloor also told reporters that he will be in the fray as an independent and is considering three seats to contest.

But the one to watch out for is George, whose fighting skills are much better than that of his political adversaries. George has already announced his candidature as a ‘people’s candidate’ in his home turf in the Poonjar constituency that he has represented a record six times.

“A section of the CPI-M leadership has cheated me. You wait and see, I will win with a margin of over 20,000 votes. In case the difference between the rival fronts (LDF and UDF) is just one seat, and if it is Achuthanandan who is leading the CPI-M, I will put up my hand for him in the assembly,” said George, who has already begun his campaign.