K R Gouri celebrates 101st birthday

K R Gouri cuts a cake as Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan looks on during centenary celebration held at her residence on Friday

Alappuzha: Marxist firebrand and the lone surviving member of the first Kerala Legislative Assembly, K R Gouri, celebrated her 101st birthday here on Friday.

Cutting across party lines, the who's who of Kerala politics flocked to meet Gouri, fondly called 'Gouri Amma', at her residence and greeted the stalwart on her birthday.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan inaugurated the centenary birthday celebration of the 'iron lady' of the state politics at a function in the coastal district.

Besides Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan and Opposition Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala, a number of ministers and prominent leaders attended the event and recalled her contribution.

Clad in her trademark white saree, Gouri Amma welcomed everyone with a smile, setting aside her difficulties due to old age.

Vijayan said Gouri's life is inseparable from the history of modern Kerala.

"Only a few in this world have made their life the history of the land and its people. And so, Gouri Amma's life is a celebration for everyone in the state," he said.

She has made a considerable influence in the social, political and economic history of the southern state, the chief minister added.

In a rare honour, Kerala Assembly decided not to hold its session on Friday to enable members participate in the function, honouring the veteran leader here.

A firebrand leader, K R Gouri served as the revenue minister in the first state cabinet headed by veteran Communist leader late E M Sankaran Namboothripad, which came to power in April 1957.

As the revenue minister, she presented the Agrarian Relations Bill in the first state ministry in the year 1959.

She was expelled from the CPI(M) in 1993 over alleged anti-party activities.

Later, she formed the Janadhipathya Samrakshana Samithi (JSS), a political outfit that became part of the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF), and became a minister in the UDF-led government between 2001 and 2006.

However, she severed ties with the UDF in 2016 following differences with the Congress leadership.

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