KOCHI: Senior Congress leader and former Kerala Assembly Speaker A C Jose, 78, died here due to cardiac arrest at 2 am on Saturday. He died on the way to the hospital from residence. Ambat Chacko Jose, the managing editor of Congress mouthpiece ‘Veekshanam’, had been elected to the Parliament thrice in 1996, 1998 and 1999. He defeated Francis George in Idukki in 1996 Lok Sabha election. The second victory was from Mukundapuram Lok Sabha constituency by defeating P Govinda Pillai and the third time from Thrissur.
He was a member of the Assembly twice and served as the Speaker in 1982. His maiden victory to the Assembly was in 1980 from Paravur from where he got the second term as well. While serving as the Speaker, Jose had exercised the casting vote to save the then Congress ministry led by K Karunakaran. Jose has been the only Speaker in the history of Kerala Assembly who had used the casting vote to retain a government in power. He was the youngest mayor in the history of the Kochi Corporation. He was only 35 when he became the Mayor of Kochi in 1972. He served in the post between 1972 June to 1973 June.
His entry into politics was through student-youth movements and he was the second state president of Kerala Students Union. He was the treasurer of Youth Congress when A K Antony was the state president.
An active presence in the trade union sector, he served as a president of around 60 organisations. He was a member of Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee Executive and All India Congress Committee. He was the lone vice-president of KPCC when Thennala Balakrishna Pillai was president. He was the chairman of Coir Board for three years from 2005. Born in 1937 as the son of Ambat Chacko, his entry into politics was while practising as a lawyer in the High Court. He leaves behind wife Leelamma Jose, a retired professor of Maharaja’s College, and children Sunil Jacob Jose, Sindhya Parayil, Sween Jose Ambat and Salil Jose. Deceased former union minister A C George was his elder brother. Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, KPCC president V M sudheeran and senior Congress leader Vayalar Ravi visited the house of the deceased and paid tributes.