Veteran communist leader M V Raghavan, who founded the regional rebel outfit Communist Marxist Party (CMP), died on Sunday after a prolonged illness. He was 81.
The cremation would be held in Kannur on Monday. He had been keeping away from active politics for last three years due to Parkinson’s disease.
After his CMP joined the Congress-led United Democratic Front, Raghavan had been a minister for two terms under Congress governments in 1991 and 2001. He had held portfolio of co-operative department and established the first co-operative sector medical college in Kerala .
A firebrand and inspiring leader of the Left masses, Raghavan had been one of the prominent CPI (M) leaders from Kannur. He had been instrumental in grooming several senior leaders from Kannur. He represented the state Assembly from Kannur as CPI (M) legislator for four terms. A former district secretary of CPI (M), Raghavan managed to stem the tide of Naxal movement in north Kerala in the early 1970s.
His political career witnessed a watershed in 1985 when he mooted alternative political approach to forge alliance with India Union Muslim League and Kerala Congress to take on the Indian National Congress in Kerala.
Then a secretariat committee member from Kannur, Raghavan had submitted the document for alternative party line to be submitted in the central committee. The state secretariat presented it in the state conference held in Kochi in November 1985. The alternative line was rejected in the party state conference. Subsequently, Raghavan was suspended from the party along with a few senior leaders.
In February, 1986, Raghavan was dismissed from the party for ever. Post-ouster Raghavan founded a new rebel party Communist Marxist Party. CPI (M) put up a strong defiance against Raghavan, who also had considerable muscle power in the region. He and his party men were physically targeted on many occasions.
In the Assembly elections held in 1987, CMP contested to 84 out of 140 constituencies. But, only Raghavan won. His party became an ally of the Congress-led United Democratic Front. He was even manhandled on the floor of the Assembly by CPI (M) members.
In the next Assembly election in 1991, Raghavan won and became a minister under Congress chief minister K Karunakaran. While a CPI (M) leader, Raghavan had been the most acerbic critic of Karunakaran. In 1996, Raghavan lost the elections. In 2001, he won again and became the minister for the second term under UDF regime.
Taking a cue from his CPI (M) days, Raghavan build up a
parallel co-operative movement of banks in North Kerala. He was the founder of the first medical college in co-operative sector, an experiment which was later copied by the CPI (M).
For last two years, Raghavan has been indisposed. But the intra-party dispute coupled with family discord over managing the co-operative empire, divided this minor political party into two factions. From early this year, a fraction led by C P John stayed with the UDF while another led by K R Aravindakshan moved to the LDF