Karunakaran turns 91, still dabbles in politics


Thrissur (Kerala) : Veteran Congress leader and former chief minister K. Karunakaran, who turned 91 Saturday, demonstrated despite his advanced age he was abreast of current political affairs.

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Karunakaran, who is tipped to be appointed a governor, advised the state Congress leadership not to displease the Nair Service Society (NSS), the social organisation of the Nair community.

Talking to reporters here after offering prayers at the Guruvayoor Krishna temple, Karunakaran said it was unfortunate that the NSS is upset with the Congress.

The NSS leadership is said to be peeved as their demand for a Nair candidate to be elected to the Rajya Sabha and one to be made a minister in the Manmohan Singh cabinet was not heeded.

“The Congress leadership should see that they solve whatever issues are there with the NSS,” he said, reacting to media reports that Union Minister of State for Agriculture K.V. Thomas’ request for a meeting with the NSS leadership Friday was turned down by the NSS.

Addressing reporters on the sidelines of the NSS annual meeting at Changanacherry near Kottayam Saturday, NSS assistant secretary G.Sukumaran Nair said Shashi Tharoor, even though a Nair, is a “Delhi Nair”.

“The Congress party took away the seat of sitting Rajya Sabha member Thennala Balakrishna Pillai, a Nair, and gave that seat to Vayalar Ravi (an Ezhava Hindu). Ravi could have contested the Lok Sabha and the Congress party could have given the Rajya Sabha seat to Pillai. Tharoor’s inclusion in the cabinet need not be in our account,” he said.

However, Thomas told reporters at Kochi Saturday that it was wrong to conclude that the NSS leadership had declined to meet him.

“My tour programme is very clear and it does not mention a visit to NSS headquarters. Since I had a programme at Alappuzha, I just made a call to NSS general secretary P.K. Narayana Panicker who raised some grievances and I assured him all things will be sorted out,” said Thomas.

The NSS over the years has kept equidistant from both the Congress and Left-led political fronts in Kerala, but in the recent Lok Sabha polls it had an informal understanding with the Congress to support it.