We will serve the people as an independent party: KR Gowri

KPM Basheer Kochi | Updated on January 28, 2014 Published on January 28, 2014

Lone crusader K R Gowri.

Twenty years after she launched her own party, the communist legend is parting ways with the Congress-led UDF

Six months shy of her 94th birthday, K. R. Gowri, the communist legend who later on took a right turn, is at a crossroads in her political career. Just ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, she and her party have left the ruling Congress-led United Democratic Front alliance.

Twenty years after she launched her own party, the Janadhipatya Samrakshana Samiti (council for the protection of democracy) after being expelled from the CPI (M) and joining force with the UDF, she is parting ways. On Sunday, at a news conference at Alappuzha, Gowri — or Gowri Amma as Keralites call her — announced that her party’s alliance with the UDF was off.

“We will not align with any political front,” she announced in her capacity as the party General Secretary. “We will serve the people as an independent party.” She said the party’s State committee had decided to say goodbye to the UDF. The reason: the constant indifference of the Oommen Chandy Government to JSS’ requests and the negligence by the UDF leadership.

Vertical split

But Gowri Amma, who inspired generations of women into communism, politics and public service, could not carry the entire JSS with her. A section of the party will stay back with the UDF. A.N. Rajan Babu, party President at a parallel news conference on Sunday, said they were not leaving the UDF. This means it is a vertical split in the party.

Gowri Amma’s break-off has not surprised anybody as it had been in the air for long. The Congress and its other UDF partners were cool to the departure. “We have not sent her out of the UDF,” Home Minister and outgoing head of the Congress State unit, Ramesh Chennithala, said. “Butshe is free to leave.”

In the run-up to a general election, the UDF, particularly its lead party, the Congress, should have been worried at the loss of an alliance partner; strangely, the CPI (M), for which Gowri Amma had worked for more than a half century, is willing to welcome her back home and the LDF is ready to shelter the JSS.

Historic moment

Butthe UDF considers Gowri Amma a spent force. In the last Assembly election, Gowri Amma, who had been a constant in the Kerala Assembly for nearly a half century, could not defend her constituency and had thus lost her party’s capital in the UDF.

The JSS’s biggest political asset was Gowri Amma’s aura as a brave, indomitable former communist warrior who, as the Revenue Minister in the E.M.S. Nambudirippad Cabinet in 1950-60s, had been one of the architects of Kerala’s historic land reforms that provided land to the tiller.

In 1964, when the communist party split, she had sacrificed her marriage at the altar of ideology. Her husbandT.V. Thomas had stayed with the CPI, while she, along with other leaders such as E.M.S. Nambudirippad and A.K. Gopalan, broke off and launched the CPI (M). It was a typical ‘party marriage’ so common in those heady ideological times; and, when the party split, the couple split, too.

Gowri Amma is known as a strong-willed, long-haul political fighter. Now that she has closed the doors on the UDF and that she is going on 94, does she have the will and vigour to carry on another fight?

Published on January 28, 2014
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