Veerendra Kumar, a minister for hardly 48 hrs in Kerala

Veerendra Kumar, a minister for hardly 48 hours in Kerala

M P Veerendra Kumar. PTI/File photo

Rajya Sabha member M P Veerendra Kumar, who died at the age of 84 on Thursday night, had been a minister in Kerala for hardly 48 hours.

Kumar was elected to the eighth Kerala Legislative Assembly from Kalpetta in Wayanad, his home town, in 1987. He was sworn in a forest minister on April 2, 1987, in the left ministry led by CPM leader E K Nayanar. But owing to differences from within the party as a faction wanted N M Joseph to become the minister, Veerendrakumar decided to resign the next day.

Also read — M P Veerendra Kumar, MD of Malayalam daily Mathrubhumi and Rajya Sabha MP, passes away

According to Kumar's website, immediately after swearing-in, he decided to ban felling of trees in forests. Following pressure to withdraw the order, he resigned.

Veteran political analysts K G Parameswaran Nair recollected that in-fight in the Janatha party was the key reason for Kumar's resignation. "After swearing-in in Thiruvananthapuram, he headed towards his home town for reception. But before the reception was over he had to resign. Some media had then termed him as 'Ek Din Ka Raja' (one day king)," Nair recollects.

Also read — PM Modi condoles death of RS member and Mathrubhumi MD M P Veerendra Kumar

Kumar was Loktantrik Janata Dal state president in Kerala. He was Lok Sabha member during 1996-98 and 2004-2009 and served as Minister of State, Finance in 1997 and Minister of State for Labour (Independent Charge) in 1997-98. He was Rajya Sabha MP from 2016 to 2017. He was then a JD(U) leader and had resigned from Rajya Sabha after JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar decided to join NDA. He remained with the Sharad Yadav faction and got re-elected to Rajya Sabha in 2018 March.

Kumar was also serving as Managing Director and Chairman of a prominent Malayalam media group that brings out the widely-read daily Mathrubhumi. He authored over 20 books and won over 100 awards.

Kumar was born on July 26, 1936, at Kalpetta in Wayanad. His father M K Padmaprabha Gowder was a member of Madras Legislative Assembly and mother Marudevi. He is survived by his wife Usha, son Shreyams Kumar, who is a former MLA, and three daughters. Funeral was held near his ancestral home at Kalpetta in Wayanad with state honours by 5 pm on Friday. Owing to lockdown, restrictions were imposed on the number of persons to pay last respects.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and many other prominent leaders condoled Kumar's death.

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