Captain without a conscience?

K K Rema on fighting for her martyred husband’s political convictions and why Pinarayi’s new-found popularity is just a PR exercise

KK Rema lost her husband, comrade TP, nine years ago, on the night of May 4, 2012 after he was hacked to death at Vallikaadu Junction in Kozhikode by a group of assailants. Several CPM activists were later convicted for T P Chandrasekharan’s murder but in her own way, Rema exacted her revenge after nine years through ballot, crushing LDF in its stronghold, Vadakara.

“Why did they do it? What was the need for it? I believe we are in desperate need of administrators with a heart and captains with a conscience,” says Rema.

Rema says what Pinarayi Vijayan said about Chandrasekharan when he died is still fresh in her mind. “He called him ‘Kulam Kuthi’ (traitor). They say of the dead, say nothing bad. His statement remains as an open wound,” she says.

Rema says she doesn’t believe it is the Pinarayi factor that led to the LDF’s thumping victory in the assembly elections. There was a consolidation of minority votes in favour of Left to keep BJP at bay, she says.

“It was a trend similar to what happened in the last Lok Sabha elections but this time the voters stood with Left. BJP’s vote trade also contributed to Left’s victory, which is evident from the dip in its vote share,” Rema says. Commenting on the popular image that Pinarayi enjoys in the state today, Rema says well-paid public relations campaigns can easily burnish a person’s image.

“In the past one and a half years, he has been interacting with the public in the evenings. Isn’t that actually a big advertisement for him? Why don’t the health minister or the health secretary conduct those press conferences? In the pandemic times, he has been doing only what every administrator should do, his duty. But for that people have been putting him on a pedestal and deifying him. Saying that only what he says is right, would only lead to the party’s end,” Rema says.

It was in 2008 that Chandrasekharan floated the Revolutionary Marxist Party (RMP) in Onchiam, a red bastion. The TP-led faction had alleged that the party was compromising on ideals and that was one key reason why they walked out. In the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, Chandrasekharan contested and secured over 21,000 votes leading to CPM’s defeat. The party was routed in panchayats including Onchiyam, Eranmala and Azhiyur in the local body elections as well.

Chandrasekharan was very close to VS Achuthanandan. Rema says TP stood for a people-centric alternative politics and that his voice would reverberate in the assembly through her.

“We have to bring an end to the politics of silencing and assassinating dissent. We cannot permit hacking people to death for refusing to toe the line,” says Rema. K S Hariharan, senior journalist and RMP leader says TP, in his last speech made on April 30, had said anyone of us could fall in this fight, and that others should take up the flag of the fallen and go forward with it.

“We are doing just that and so is Rema. How many families of martyrs are there in Kerala? They fall silent and resign themselves to their fate. But Rema chose to fight. She took a clear stand that she would stand with the politics of her husband and went forward with it,” he says.

In 2017, RMP merged with a few Left parties in other states, leading to the formation of Revolutionary Marxist Party of India. RMP state secretary N Venu says the victory in Vadakara would help the party expand its base across the state.

“My strength and energy in my public and private life is comrade TP. The wound his murder inflicted upon me motivates me to fight. I am thankful to our party cadres and the people of Vadakara who voted for me, cutting across party lines,” says Rema.



Views expressed above are the author’s own.


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