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Politics

Legendary Communist Leader K.R. Gowri Amma Passes Away

Member of the CPI(M), K R Gowri Amma passed away at 102, leaving behind a rich political career.

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala’s veteran politician and member of the first Communist government headed by E.M.S. Namboodiripad in 1957, K.R. Gowri Amma died here on Tuesday.

She was 102 and had been admitted to a private hospital due to age-related ailments.

She breathed her last at 7 am on Tuesday while undergoing treatment in the ICU, hospital sources said.

Considered to be among the most powerful women leaders in Kerala, Gowri Amma, as she was fondly called, was the lone surviving member of the first Kerala legislative assembly.

After being expelled from the CPI(M) in 1994, Gowri floated a new political outfit – Janathipathiya Samrakshana Samithi (JSS) – which became a constituent of the Congress-led UDF in the state.

She was married to the late T V Thomas, who was also her cabinet colleague.

Gowri, who was the revenue minister in EMS Namboodiripad ministry, is credited with playing a key role in bringing the revolutionary Agrarian Relations Bill, which set the ceiling on the amount of land a family could own, paving the way for the landless farmers to claim excess land.

After the split in the Communist Party in 1964, Gowri joined the CPI (Marxist), while her husband remained with the CPI.

Born on July 14, 1919 in the sleepy Pattanakkad village of coastal Alappuzha to K A Ramanan and Parvathy Amma, Gowri was attracted to politics at a young age.

She was jailed in 1948, the year she joined the Communist Party, and defied adversities to build the organisation.

Gowri, the tallest woman politician of the state who never minced words to put her thoughts across, was elected to the Travancore-Cochin legislative assembly in 1952 and 1954.

After her successful foray to the state legislature in 1957 from Cherthala in Alappuzha, there was no looking back.