MP Veerendra Kumar, Rajya Sabha MP and a doyen of Kerala’s socialist politics, passed away late Thursday night at a private hospital in Kozhikode following a cardiac arrest. He was 83. Kumar had been suffering from age-related illnesses for some time.
Kumar, apart from his exemplary political career as the leader of several socialist outfits, was also an acclaimed writer, orator and thinker. His travelogue Haimavatha Bhoovil won the prestigious Kendra Sahitya Akademi award in 2010. He had been the long-time managing director of the influential Malayalam newspaper Mathrubhumi.
Kumar, who has been elected to the Kerala state Assembly and the Lok Sabha multiple times, headed the Janata Dal (U) in Kerala for a long time before parting ways when its national chief and Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar joined hands with the BJP. As an active socialist leader in Kerala, he was arrested and spent time in jail during the Emergency.
Kumar has worked extensively with both the Congress-led UDF as well as the CPM-led LDF. Just before the Lok Sabha elections last year, his party had crossed over into the LDF. In the past, he has functioned as a minister in the state cabinet as well as a union minister. He has served in the roles of the chairman of the Press Trust of India as well as the president of the Indian Newspaper Society.
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