Former general secretary of the Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) and a stalwart of the left movement in Kerala, Prof. T.J. Chandrachoodan, 82, died on Monday.
Doctors cited age-related ailments as the cause of death.
After a brief stint as a college teacher, Prof. Chandrachoodan forayed into politics by joining the RSP’s youth wing in the early 70s.
He rose in the ranks of the RSP to become its State secretary in 1999 and later the party’s national general secretary.
Prof. Chandrachoodan reckoned the late RSP leaders and former Ministers Baby John and K. Pankajakshan as his mentors.
Accomplished orator and writer
He made an indelible mark on Kerala’s political landscape as an accomplished orator, who shunned muckraking in politics and adopted an erudite, dignified, and insightful approach to issues.
Prof. Chandrachoodan also authored political articles for various mainstream publications. His spell as a journalist in Kerala Kaumudi, a Malayalam newspaper, held him in good stead as a writer. He has published several books under his name.
Tough electoral luck
Nevertheless, electoral success repeatedly eluded Prof. Chandrachoodan. He lost the Kerala Legislative Assembly elections from the Thiruvananthapuram West constituency in 1982 and later from the Aryanad constituency in 2006.
By some accounts, Prof. Chandrachoodan had strived to prevent the RSP’s breakaway from the Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)] led Left Democratic Front (LDF) coalition in 2014. The RSP, one of the founding members of LDF, had stormed out of the left alliance, accusing the CPI(M) of attempting to usurp its Kollam Lok Sabha constituency seat seen as the party’s traditional stronghold.
However, with the support of the United Democratic Front (UDF), RSP fielded former Minister N.K. Premachandran in Kollam, who carried the day at the hustings.
The separation was acrimonious, with then CPI(M) State secretary Pinarayi Vijayan accusing the RSP of betraying the left cause.
Nevertheless, Prof. Chandrachoodan was respected and even liked by his political opponents as a man of learning and principle.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Leader of the Opposition V.D. Satheesan, and KPCC president K. Sudhakaran paid rich tributes to the departed leader and conveyed their sympathies to his family.