Twenty-one years after she was expelled on charges of anti-party activities, veteran communist leader K R Gouriamma would return to the CPI(M). Her rebel party Janathipathya Samrakshana Samithi (JSS) would merge with the CPI(M) on August 19.
CPI(M) state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, who met 96-year-old Gouriamma at her Alappuzha residence on Friday evening, said JSS leaders would be rehabilitated in the CPI(M) after the merger. This would be held on August 19, which is observed as P Krishna Pillai day. (P Krishna Pillai had been one of the founders of the Communist movement in Kerala).
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Balakrishnan said the party has not taken any decision on the post to be given to Gouriamma. “She knows very well the practice of the CPI (M),” said Balakrishnan.
Gouriamma said she would hand over a list of leaders who have to be rehabilitated in the CPI(M) post-merger. She expected that the CPI(M) would accommodate her party in a fitting manner.
Since its formation in 1994, the JSS had been an ally of the Congress-led United Democratic Front. However, earlier this year, the JSS walked out of the UDF in protest against the raw deal meted out to the party, which does not have any legislator in the state assembly. However, a small fraction of the JSS, led by a former legislator Rajan Babu, had decided to stay with the UDF.
Gouriamma, the longest-serving politician in Kerala, is a prominent leader from Hindu Ezhava community, which has been a traditional vote bank of the CPI(M) in Kerala. Her and JSS’ return would help the CPI(M) consolidate the party’s hold in the Ezhava community, which is being targeted by the BJP in Kerala.
In the recent months, Gouriamma has been mulling the option of returning to the CPI(M) after her party’s exit from the UDF. In April, CPI(M) had made a formal invitation to the former war horse, once reckoned as the party’s chief minister candidate.
In the recently-held by-election at Aruvikkara assembly segment, she had campaigned for the CPI(M) candidate.
She had been a minister in the Communist governments of 1957, 1967, 1980 and 1987. After the formation of the JSS, she has been a minister in the Congress-led government from 2001 to 2006. She lost elections in 2006 and 2011, which had been her 17th electoral battle.