Kozhikode (Kerala) [India], May 29 (ANI): Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan condoled the demise of MP Veerendra Kumar, Rajya Sabha MP and Managing Director of the leading Malayalam daily Mathrubhumi, and said that his death is a loss to the democratic and secular movements.
Sharing his memories with Kumar in a post on Facebook, Vijayan wrote, "His death is a loss to the democratic and secular movements. I have decades of personal relationships with him. During the Emergency, we were together. Even in one phase when there were political differences, we maintained the personal relationship. He was a leader who would study any issue in depth and present it. During the meeting of people's representatives on COVID-19 preventive measures held the other day, he had participated and had given valuable opinions.''
Veerendra Kumar passed away at a private hospital here on Thursday. He was 84. Kumar is survived by wife Usha and children -- Asha, Nisha, Jayalakshmi and MV Shreyams Kumar.
Many others also expressed grief over the demise of Veerendra Kumar.
Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala said, "This is the loss of a close friend. He is a frontrunner of socialist movement who has left a personal mark as a political leader, writer, journalist, environmental activist and more. Folding my hands in the memory of Veerendra Kumar who was active till the last moment.''
Mullappally Ramachandran, KPCC president, also took to Facebook to express his sorrow. "There has not been another political leader who has written and spoken in depth about environmental issues in Kerala. He was a strong person who made Mathrubhumi newspaper to reach heights. Not only in socialist movements, his demise is also a big loss to the public.''
Former Defence Minister AK Antony said he has lost a close friend and a teacher.
"When I was the President of the Kerala Students Union in 1964, I met him first and thus began a long journey with him, even though we belonged to different parties. It was just two days back I spoke to him and he looked cheerful. Now the reality is he is no more, I have lost a close friend.''
Former Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said, "He is a leader who stood for truth, clarity and achieved triumph in all fields that he was active. He was always most respected and loved.''
BJP state president K Surendran said that Kumar was a personality who dedicated his life to "nature and society."
Veerendra Kumar was born to Marudevi Avva and Padmaprabha Gowder, a leader of Socialist Party on July 22, 1936, in Wayanad's Kalpetta. He was arrested during the Emergency.
During 1987-91, Kumar was elected member of the Kerala legislative assembly. In 1996, he was elected to the Lok Sabha from Kozhikode constituency and served as Minister of State (MoS) for Labour and later Finance.
BJP leader and former Mizoram Governor Kummanam Rajasekharan said, "Veerendra Kumar's demise marked the end of an era. We have lost a great leader who devoted his life for what he believed in without falling for power. I feel like I lost a close friend."
CPIM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said, "Veerendra Kumar was a socialist who had great clarity on his political stance and a visionary who could predict things for the future and also someone who was a Leftist at heart."
Meanwhile, Kerala Health Minister KK Shailaja said that Kumar was like a guru to her.
"He was always a companion of the Left and took good care of me. He used to advise me like a teacher," Shailaja said. (ANI)