Kerala Kaumudi Online
Tuesday, 22 June 2021 10.21 PM IST

What happened then Vijaya? Gowri Amma asked Pinarayi Vijayan openly in a public function 


​​​​​About three decades ago during the 1987 assembly elections, the popular slogan echoed across the state was ‘Keramthingum Keralanattil K R Gowri Bharicheedum’(K R Gowri will rule Kerala for the next five years). Even though the left front won the elections, Gowri Amma didn’t get the steering wheel. The influence of that slogan still exists. It is in this context, the slogan was again heard by Kerala but this time right from Gowri Amma herself. The question, ‘what happened then, Vijaya,’ fell upon the ears of the audience like a bolt of lightning.

On 21 June 2019, Gowri Amma was speaking in a public function at Shakti auditorium in Alappuzha organised as part of her centenary celebrations. The meeting which was held under the presidentship of Ramesh Chennithala, witnessed the participation of all senior leaders in Kerala politics and at this time under their witness, Gowri Amma asked Pinarayi Vijayan,“What happened then, Vijaya?”

This question which the Kerala society was asking to themselves finally came out from Gowri Amma. Even after it was asked to the chief minister, the centenarian leader didn’t get any clear answer.

Even when she was standing at the centenary year of her life, she asked another question to the enthralling crowd, “Why was I expelled from the party?” These questions raised by Gowri Amma were being heard from the party’s branch office from Chattanadu to CPM’s polit bureau. But no logical answer was received from the party circles until now. Thus Gowri Amma enters into her 102nd year without any celebrations on July 7, 2020.

In 1952, Communist Party selected Gowri Amma as its candidate to the Thiru-Kochi assembly. The landslide majority won by Gowri Amma was again repeated in the 1954 election. In the first election held after formation of united Kerala, the party didn’t have any other name to suggest in Cherthala constituency. From that election to more than 50 years Gowri Amma went to assembly from Cherthala and Aroor constituencies. In her 16,345 days long Assembly career, she became minister for five times in various ministries from 1957 to 2001 and she left her hallmark in every ministry dealt by her.

In the 1991 elections, the left front lost. K Karunakaran again became the chief minister. The decision to conduct assembly elections, even before the end of the term became an issue of dispute in the party. V S Achutanandan was the party secretary at that time and Gowri Amma’s stand was against V S. The change in Gowri Amma’s stand who was known as a close confidant of V S also led to further political discussions in the party. The political alliances within the party failed to support Gowri Amma at that time. Thus Gowri Amma was expelled from the party in January 1994. How the Kerala society reacted to this expulsion later became history. JSS(Janadipatya Samrakshana Samiti) was formed as a retaliation to this political move.

Later in 1996, when the left front formed government in Kerala, her absence in the treasury bench and her glaring presence in the opposition bench was duly noted by the Kerala society. As a result, Gowri Amma became minister in the UDF ministry which came back to power in 2001. In her 25 year long political career, Gowri Amma was a communist and she couldn’t go along with the right wing ideology of Congress led UDF. Later bidding adieu to UDF she joined with the left front in 2014 and the LDF welcomed with humility the political stand of Gowri Amma. But it is true that the left front was not able to fully accept their former party stalwart.

Gowri Amma’s political history is a textbook for students of political science. Her life has gone through the up and downs of all movements which has become an indispensable part of the last century’s history.

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