Rajya Sabha member and former Union minister M P Veerendra Kumar died in a hospital in Kozhikode Thursday night. He was 84.
A veteran socialist leader and state president of Loktantrik Janata Dal, he was the managing director of Mathrubhumi, a leading newspaper group in Kerala, since 1979. As an author, orator, politician, intellectual, parliamentarian and media personality, he has left behind an indelible imprint on the social and political life of Kerala.
Veerendra Kumar was elected to the Lok Sabha in 1996 and 2004. He served as Union minister of state for finance in 1997 and held independent charge as minister of state for labour and parliamentary affairs.
In Kerala politics, he was one of the early architects of the CPI(M)-led LDF. In 1987, he was elected to the Assembly, but remained as minister of forest for only 48 hours.
Veerendra Kumar’s JD(U) severed ties with LDF in 2009, and he later moved to the Congress-led UDF and floated Socialist Janata Democratic Party. In 2014, he contested Lok Sabha polls from Palakkad as a UDF candidate but lost. Later, he was elected to Rajya Sabha on UDF ticket, but quit in 2017 in protest against Bihar CM Nitish Kumar joining hands with the BJP.
Later, he revived the state unit of JD(U) and returned to LDF, which again elected him to the Rajya Sabha in 2018.
Veerendra Kumar, who hails from Wayanad, was initiated into the socialist movement during his school days. He remained aligned with the socialist movement in the country and state, and stood for secular politics.
He was at the forefront of several green movements in Kerala. His literary career includes two dozen major works.
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