Veteran CPI leader and former Kerala minister E Chandrasekharan Nair died here today following brief illness, party sources said.
Nair (89) died at a state-run hospital here where he was admitted on Saturday for treatment of chest congestion, they said. He is survived by wife Manorama Nair, a son and a daughter.
The late leader was not in active politics for the past few year. He was a minister in the LDF cabinet in 1980-81, 1987-91 and 1996-2001.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan condoled the death of Nair, who was not in active politics for the past few years, and said his demise was a “great loss” to Kerala. In his message, he also said the late leader had played a vital role in uniting Left democratic forces and to spread secular values in Kerala society.
Known for his soft-spoken nature and simplicity, Nair was one of the two last surviving members of the first Kerala assembly of 1957, veteran communist leader K R Gouri being the other. Nair, who earned the respect of all leaders irrespective of political affiliation, was an MLA for 19 years.
Born into the family of prominent lawyers at Irumbanangadu in Kollam in December 2, 1928, Nair, a graduate in law and mathematics, entered politics through students’ union and joined the Communist Party in 1952. He held different positions in the party before becoming an MLA.
Nair was the Managing Editor of the CPI party organ ‘Janayugam’ for a long time and also contributed to the paper under the title “idapedal” (intervention). He had authored several books including “Hindu Matham Hindutvam’, which won him the prestigious Kerala Sahitya Akademi award.
The tallest leader of the CPI in the state, Chandrasekharan was a member of the first Legislative Assembly in the state in 1957, when EMS Namboothiripad created history by heading the first ever democratically-elected Communist government in the world.
Born in Kollam, Chandrasekharan became political active as a student. He secured his first electoral victory from the Kottarakkara constituency in Kollam. Alongside his political career, he remained a practicing lawyer till 1970.
A six-time legislator and a three-time Minister, Chandrasekharan has been known as arguably the best Food and Civil Supplies Minister the state has seen, holding the portfolio in 1980, 1987 and 1996. Additionally, he also handled the Animal Husbandry portfolio from 1987 to 1991 and the Law and Tourism portfolios from 1996 to 2001.
During his 1987 tenure as Food Minister, Chandrasekharan initiated the move to start the ‘Maveli Stores’, which later flourished as one of the strongest public-sector ventures in the state – providing essential commodities at less-than-market, fair price rates.
A strong advocate of the co-operative movement, he was the President of the State Cooperative Bank for eight years and led the Kollam District Co-operative bank for many years. Chandrasekharan was always reputed for bringing efficiency and responsiveness to administration, and was one of the political leaders whose name was never dragged into any kind of controversies. Even among political opponents, his non-compromising stand on people friendly policies were acknowledged and respected.
Chandrasekharan also helmed the Adhoc Committee for the formation of Subject Committees in 1980. This Committee recommended the formation of ten subject Committees for the scrutiny of the state budget, a major governance innovation in the country’s history.
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