P. K. Vasudevan Nair

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P.K. Vasudevan Nair
P.K. Vasudevan Nair.jpg
P.K. Vasudevan Nair
Chief Minister of Kerala
Preceded by A. K. Antony
Succeeded by C.H. Mohammed Koya
Personal details
Born (1926-03-02)2 March 1926
Kidangoor, Kottayam, Kerala
Died 12 July 2005(2005-07-12) (aged 79)
AIIMS, New Delhi
Political party Communist Party of India
Spouse(s) K. P. Lakshmi Kutty Amma
Children 3 sons and 2 daughters

Padayatt Kesavapillai Vasudevan Nair (Malayalam: പി.കെ. വാസുദേവന്‍‌ നായര്‍; 2 March 1926 – 12 July 2005), popularly known as PKV, was the 9th Chief Minister of Kerala and a senior leader of the Communist Party of India (CPI). He became Chief Minister on 20 October 1978, following A. K. Antony's resignation as Chief Minister to protest against the Indian National Congress choice of Indira Gandhi as a candidate in the Chikmagalur Lok Sabha byelection. He gave up the coveted post on 7 October 1979, to facilitate the coming together of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI(M)) and CPI and pave the way for the formation of the Left Democratic Front. He was the founder-president of the Travancore Students Union, All Kerala Students Federation and All India Youth Federation (AIYF). He remained with the CPI after the split in the Communist movement in 1964 and was elected the party's State secretary in 1982. He was elected to the Lok Sabha four times, in 1957, 1962, 1967 and 2004, and to the Kerala Legislative Assembly twice, in 1977 and 1980.


He was born in Kidangur village in Kottayam district of central Kerala. His father was Kesava Pillai. He began his political life as a student activist while studying in Union Christian College, Aluva, when the whole country was in upheaval having entered the final phase of freedom struggle. After graduating in Physics he went for study law at Government Law College, Thiruvananthapuram. PKV had his baptism in politics during his students days as an activist of the All India Students Federation (AISF). The initial years were tumultuous as AISF, which was part of the then undivided Communist Party of India (CPI), was fighting against British imperialism.

Then he joined the Communist Party of India in 1945 like many young radicals of his time who thought Congress too moderate and pro-rich. The subsequent years saw him evolve as a student and youth leader. He was the president of Travancore Students’ Union in 1947 and elected as President of All Kerala Students Federation in 1948.

PKV faced his first arrest during those days for making a speech against the royal ruler of Travancore. PKV was among hundreds of communists who went underground when the Communist Party of India was banned following its adoption of the Calcutta Thesis that called for armed struggle against the ruling government in 1948. He took part in underground activities from 1948–51 and was arrested in 1951 in connection with students' movement.

P K Vasudevan Nair and Balraj Sahani backed the idea of All India Youth Federation. Delhi's firebrand youth leader, Guru Radha Kishan was very active in organising the first national conference of AIYF in Delhi, this wholehearted effort was visible when more than 250 delegates and observers across India representing several youth organizations of various states attended this conference. PKV had acted as president of All Kerala Students Federation, All India Youth Federation (AIYF) and Vice President of World Federation of Democratic Youth (WFDY).

When the Communist Party split in 1964, he threw his lot with the CPI. After a long national parliamentary career, PKV returned to state politics in the 1970s and was elected to the Kerala Assembly in 1977 in the election held after the Emergency. He was the Industries Minister in the Karunakaran and A.K. Antony ministries from April 1977 to October 1978. When Antony resigned in 1979 protesting against the Congress' choice of Indira Gandhi as a candidate in Chikmagalur Lok Sabha by-election, PKV became Chief Minister with the support of the Congress on 29 October 1978 and occupied the post till 7 October 1979.

PKV, who never went after positions, threw away his Chief Ministership after a year in office to realise the alliance with the CPI-M, ushering in an era of Left unity in the country which led to the formation of Left Democratic Front (LDF). Suave and soft-spoken, PKV had over the years earned several friends cutting across political lines. From 1982 to 2004, PKV had stayed away from electoral politics, concentrating his time and energy on the organisational front. During this period, he mostly served as the state secretary of CPI.

PKV election mural 2004

Whether in or out of power, he always kept a simple lifestyle and had been accessible to all sections of people. An ardent communist, the epitome of simplicity and a crusader for people's causes in his long political career spanning six decades that saw him elected to the post of Chief Minister, four-time MP and leader of CPI's Parliamentary Group in the Lok Sabha. He had left a vivid impression in the minds of the people.

PKV also served as editor of Janayugom daily, the organ of the Communist Party of India between 1954-57. He was elected to the Lok Sabha from Tiruvalla in 1957 from Ambalappuzha in 1962 and from Peermade in 1967. He was in the panel of chairmen and secretary of CPI Parliamentary Party in the Lok Sabha from 1967 to 1970.

He was a member of parliament from the Thiruvananthapuram constituency, elected in the 2004 Lok Sabha elections when died on 12 July 2005 following multiple organ failure brought about by chronic heart ailment and severe diabetes. PKV is survived by wife K. P. Lakshmi Kutty Amma, who is P. Govinda Pillai's sister, three sons and two daughters.

Preceded by
A. K. Antony
Chief Minister of Kerala
Succeeded by
C.H. Mohammed Koya