Over the years, the state has witnessed several star Lok Sabha members, who represented their constituency multiple terms and got elevated as Union Ministers before fading away from the political scene.
Former Union Ministers K P Unnikrishnan (Vadakara) and S Krishna Kumar (Kollam) are the two names the voters in the state would remember as MPs who represented the same constituency several times.
While Unnikrishnan represented the Vadakara constituency during the late 70s, 80s and 90s, Krishna Kumar was in electoral limelight during the 80s and 90s.
Unnikrishnan first represented the constituency in 1971 as an Indian National Congress candidate. He remained unbeaten in the next five LS polls (1977, 1980, 1984, 1989, 1991) despite switching over to the Indian National Congress (Urs) in 1980 and later to Indian Congress (Socialist) in 1984. He had served as the Minister for Telecommunications in the V P Singh Cabinet (1989-90).
His first and final defeat in the constituency came in 1996. Unnikrishnan later quit active politics, shifted his base to New Delhi and then to his ancestral house at Panniyankara in Kozhikode, and immersed himself in reading and writing books. Apart from ill-health, Unnikrishnan’s decision to keep off politics was aided by group rivalry in the party.
S Krishna Kumar, a technocrat IAS officer with 17 years of experience, was introduced into active politics by Congress leader K Karunakaran, who made him the surprise candidate from Kollam constituency in 1984. He won the election and was given a berth in the Rajiv Gandhi-led Congress Ministry.
Krishna Kumar continued his winning streak by representing the seat in 1989 and 1991. Krishna Kumar’s career came under a cloud when his wife Usha was arrested for violation of the Foreign Exchange Act and sent to Tihar Jail. Several allegations were raised against Krishna Kumar, including amassing of wealth disproportionate to the known sources of income and benami real estate deals.
In 1996, Krishna Kumar lost to N K Premachandran of RSP, in a contest which also saw the presence of Nina Pillai, wife of biscuit tycoon Rajan Pillai, as a BJP-supported candidate. Krishna Kumar then distanced himself from electoral politics and took on the role of an education and industrial consultant. He is now an active presence in Congress camps as part of the campaign for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, with a hope to regain his lost glory.