Special Correspondent

Party lines blur as tributes pour in, saluting “Kerala Kissinger’s” contribution to the State’s polity

Thiruvananthapuram: People belonging to all walks of life on Tuesday mourned the venerated Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) leader Baby John’s death, with Governor R.L. Bhatia and Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan recalling his services as an administrator, parliamentarian and an astute politician.

The Governor said in his condolence message said that people would always remember Baby John as an able leader and administrator. The Chief Minister said that Baby John was one of the most experienced political leaders. In his political career spread over four decades, Baby John brought his unique stamp of individuality as a freedom fighter, trade union leader and administrator. The UDF High Power Committee, which adjourned its meeting to Wednesday as a mark of respect to the departed leader, recalled his entry into politics by organising the sand-mining workers.

In a resolution, the UDF said Mr. Baby John was the undisputed leader of the RSP, who left a mark as an administrator and a political negotiator. Union Defence Minister A.K. Antony’s condolence message had a personal touch, recalling his association with Baby John beyond the framework of politics. Known as Kerala Kissinger, he had a deep knowledge in legislative practise and endeared him to all irrespective of their political hue, Mr. Antony said.

Veteran Congress leader K. Karunakaran, at a press conference, recalled his connections with Baby John and the heady days of the 1970s when they were colleagues in the Achutha Menon Ministry. He marvelled at Baby John’s political astuteness and negotiating abilities and his capability as an administrator. “My relations went beyond politics. And our families were also in good contact,” he said.

Leader of the Opposition Oommen Chandy said that Baby John’s contributions to Kerala society would be always remembered. He left a mark in all the departments he headed in the seven ministries of which he was member. His unique craftiness earned him the nickname Kerala Kissinger, Mr. Chandy said. CPI State Secretary Veliyam Bharghavan said that Baby John’s close analysis of political development was extraordinary. He was steadfast in his views and ideology and rose above all pressures. The death of a friend of 50 years was a personal loss for him, he said.

Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee president Ramesh Chennithala said that Baby John was an astute politician who had a decisive influence in the course of fluid developments in the political history of Kerala.

RSP State secretary V.P. Ramakrishna Pillai said that Baby John was the most faithful practitioner of Marxism-Leninism.

Mr. Pillai and Water Resources Minister N.K. Premachandran cut short their stay in Kolkata where the RSP Central Committee was in session.

Speaker K.Radhakrishnan; Deputy Speaker Jose Baby; Ministers N.K. Premachandran and C. Divakaran; Janata Dal leader M.V. Sreyams Kumar, CPI leader Panniyan Ravindran and RSP(B) leader A.V. Thamarakshan, Major Archbishop-Catholicos of the Syro Malankara Catholic Church Baselios Cleemis and Vicar General of the Latin Archdiocese of Trivandrum Mons Yugien H. Pereira mourned Baby John.