RS MP & Mathrubhumi MD MP Veerandra Kumar passes away

Rajya Sabha MP & Mathrubhumi Managing Director MP Veerandra Kumar passes away

M P Veerendra Kumar, a Rajya Sabha MP from Kerala and the Managing Director and Chairman of a prominent Malayalam media group that brings out the widely read daily Mathrubhumi, passed away on Thursday.

The 83-year-old former Union Minister breathed his last after suffering a heart attack at a hospital in Kerala's Kozhikode where he was admitted at around 8:30 pm.

Kumar was the president of the Loktantrik Janata Dal's (LJD) Kerala unit. He was also a prolific writer and has authored around ten books.

Kumar, who always placed himself against communal politics, entered active politics in the 1950s and was the treasurer of the Samyuktha Socialist Party in 1968. He took charge as the Managing Director of the Mathrubhumi Printing and Publishing Company in November 1979 when the company was passing through turbulent times.

Veerendra Kumar became an MLA for the first time in 1987 and was the Forests Minister in EK Nayanar government then.

During the United Front government's rule, he was Minister of State for Finance in 1997 and was later promoted to the post of MoS with independent charge of Ministry of Labour. He was also the Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs.

Kumar was first elected to the Lok Sabha in 1996. He then became an MP in 2004 and was the leader of the JD(S) in the Lower House till 2009.

Veerendra Kumar was close to JD(S) patriarch and former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda. He, however, split with Gowda later following internal feud in the party unit in Kerala and formed the Socialist Janata (Democratic) in 2010. 

In 2014, Kumar merged his party with the Nitish Kumar-led JD(U) after it snapped  its ties with the NDA. Later when Nitish returned to the NDA fold, Kumar refused to join him and resigned from the Rajya Sabha in 2017, a post he'd won on the JD(U) ticket. He was later re-elected from Kerala again with the support of the Left Democratic Front.

He revived the SJD again but later aligned with Sharad Yadav who had fallen out with Nitish over the issue of joining the BJP, and merged with the LJD.

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