Thiruvananthapuram: In a rare gesture here on Thursday, the Kerala Assembly announced a holiday on Friday so that members can take part in the centenary birthday celebrations of legendary communist leader K.R. Gowri at Alappuzha.
Gowri is the only surviving Minister from the first ever communist government in Kerala led by the legendary E.M.S. Nampoothiripad in 1957, and remained an ardent Communist till she was expelled from the CPI-M in 1994.
Soon after Question Hour, Speaker P. Sreeramakrishnan invited the attention of the House and read out a statement noting that Gowri’s centenary birthday celebrations are to take place at Alappuzha on Friday.
Earlier, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, while congratulating Gowri, noted that many members were planning to attend her hundredth birthday celebrations at Alappuzha and suggested postponing Friday’s session of the House.
With the leader of the opposition Ramesh Chennithala also agreeing to Vijayan’s suggestion, Speaker Sreeramakrishnan announced that there would be no sitting of the Assembly on Friday.
Vijayan, Chennithala and numerous other legislators will be present at Alappuzha on Friday for Gowri’s centenary birthday celebrations.
Born at Pattanakadu near Alappuzha, Gowri completed her graduation from Maharaja’s College, Ernakulam, and later received a Law degree from the Government Law College at Ernakulam.
Gowri’s chequered political career began with her election to the Travancore-Cochin Legislative Assembly in 1952 and 1954.
In 1957, she was elected to the Kerala Legislative Assembly and became the Revenue Minister in the first communist ministry headed by Nampoothiripad.
In the very same year, she married prominent politician T.V. Thomas, who was also a Minister in the Nampoothiripad government.
After the split in the Communist Party in 1964, she joined the newly formed Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPM), while her husband stood with the Communist Party of India (CPI), leading, thereby, to their separation.
She was repeatedly elected to the Kerala Legislative Assembly in 1960, 1967, 1970, 1982, 1987, 1991 and 2001, and served as Minister in various ministries.
In 1994, Gowri was expelled out of the CPM and she formed her own party — JSS.
Since its formation, the JSS has been an ally of the Congress-led United Democratic Front and Gowri served as minister in the cabinet of A.K. Antony in 2001.
After two successive defeats in the 2006 and 2011 Assembly elections, and with age catching up, Gowri withdrew from active politics, while her party also saw a few splits.
One of Gowri’s notable achievements was her piloting of the Land Reform Bill of Kerala’s first communist government.