Tamil Nadu

Cho Ramaswamy — the politician and interlocutor

Illustration: R. Rajesh  

Cho Ramaswamy often crossed the line that divides journalists and political activists. He was consulted by political leaders, and there were occasions when he played the role of an interlocutor. His proximity to many leaders was a key factor in shaping alliances or bringing together diverse forces.

Cho joined the Janata Party in 1983 and became close to Morarji Desai and leaders such as A.B. Vajpayee, L.K. Advani, Chandra Shekhar and George Fernandes. However, after 18 months, he left the party.

Cho was close to K. Kamaraj. He campaigned for the Congress (O) in the 1971 election. The presence of huge crowds at a rally on the Marina in Chennai persuaded him to believe that Kamaraj would win. But he suffered a shocking defeat. Cho wrote a self-deprecating editorial in the magazine.

When N.T. Rama Rao was dismissed as Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister in 1984, despite enjoying a majority in the Assembly, Cho rushed to Hyderabad, and then Delhi. He joined several non-Congress leaders in a campaign for NTR’s reinstatement. They finally succeeded.

A staunch nationalist, Cho took a clear stand against the LTTE and opposed the idea of a separate ‘Tamil Eelam’. He favoured retention of Article 356 of the Constitution and argued that just because it was misused, it could not be removed.

It was at a Thuglak anniversary function in 2008 that Narendra Modi made his first public appearance in Tamil Nadu.

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Printable version | Oct 29, 2020 1:51:58 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/Cho-Ramaswamy-%E2%80%94-the-politician-and-interlocutor/article16774854.ece

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