Veteran Congress leader and former Kerala minister Aryadan Muhammed died in Kozhikode on Sunday at 87. He had been undergoing treatment for the past week.
Muhammed, a prominent Muslim face of the Congress in Kerala, was elected to the state Assembly eight times from Nilambur constituency in Malappuram. He served as a minister for four terms.
He had joined the Congress in 1952 and became a member of Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee in 1958. Later, he served as the president of Malappuram District Congress Committee and as a state leader of INTUC, the Congress’s trade union wing.
Within the Congress, Muhammed was a prominent leader associated with the “A” group led by A K Antony. When this group aligned with the CPI(M) in 1980, Muhammed became a minister in the then Left government led by E K Nayanar. He again became a minister in the Congress cabinet in 1995 when Antony became the chief minister in the wake of K Karunakaran’s resignation.
In 2004, when Oommen Chandy became the chief minister for two years, Muhammed was inducted as power minister. He was also the power minister during the Chandy-led Congress regime from 2011 to 2016.
Muhammed had also been an accused in the sensational murder of communist leader and former legislator K Kunhali in 1969 but was acquitted by a court. He also ran into controversies several times after he dared to take on Indian Union Muslim League, which dominated Muslim politics in Malappuram.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Sunday visited Nilambur and paid his respects to the late leader at his residence.
“He was a pillar for the Congress, a grassroots party worker and an excellent politician and even a better human being. It’s a huge loss for us and a tragedy for us. For me, he was a guide and an elder brother. It’s a personal loss for us,” Gandhi told the media.