JSS leader K R Gouri Amma, 102, no more


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Thiruvananthapuram: Often referred to as the 'Iron Lady in Kerala politics, legendary Communist K.R. Gowri passed away at a private hospital here on Tuesday. She breathed her last at 7 am on Tuesday while undergoing treatment in the ICU, hospital sources said.

Gouri Amma was admitted to PRS hospital a week back due to fever, breathing trouble and urinary ailments. She was shifted from her residence in Alappuzha to the house of a relative in Thiruvananthapuram only recently.

Daughter of Arumuri Parambil Parvathi Amma and Kalathilparambil Raman, Gouri Amma was born in Pattanakkad in Cherthala of Alappuzha district on July 14, 1919. She completed law studies from Government Law College in Thiruvananthapuram. She was the first female law student coming from the Ezhava community.

KR Gouri Amma was the first revenue minister of Kerala and one of the founding leaders of Communist party in the state. She became the revenue minister in the first Communist government led by EMS Namboodiripad in 1957. She initiated the Land Reforms Bill to ensure land to the poor. She served as ministers in different governments.

In 1964, when the Communist party split, Gouri Amma joined the CPI (M). In the 1987 elections, Gouri Amma was about to become the first woman chief minister of Kerala. But due to political games she was sidelined.

One of the achievements of her's was, she piloted the revolutionary Land Reform Bill of the first Communist government.

Later, she was ousted from the party for anti-party activities in 1994 and this led to the formation of Janadhipathya Samrakshana Samithi (JSS). Following this, Gouri Amma joined the UDF and became a minister in the UDF government. She last contested election in 2011, but was defeated.

Gouri Amma’s 100th birthday was celebrated grandly in 2019.

Incidentally on June 20 in 2019 in a rare gesture, the Kerala Assembly decided to give a holiday to its session, in order for the members to take part in the centenary birthday celebrations of Gowri, to be held the next day.

Soon after Question Hour, Assembly speaker , P. Sreeramakrishnan invited the attention of the House and read out a statement pointing out that Gowri's centenary birthday celebrations is there at Alappuzha.

Soon Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan while congratulating the legendary Communist said that since the celebrations are being held at Alappuzha and many members will be attending, hence in the fitness of things, it would be better, if tomorrow's session can be postponed.

When Leader of opposition Ramesh Chennithala also heaped praises on Gowri and agreed to Vijayan's suggestion, the House was in unison to the demand and Sreeramakrishnan announced that there will be no sitting, the next day.

Condolences have started pouring in with all stating that she was the one who will always be remembered in the annals of Kerala and India's history of being a lady who through her iron will and determination came up and was at the top of the political scenario for almost eight decades.

With the Covid protocols in place, the Kerala government is planning on how to give her a memorable farewell. With inputs from Ians

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