THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In history, it is not quite unusual that persons who hailed as heroes got referred to as villains later by the same masses who worshipped them thus far. The saga of M V Raghavan, popularly addressed as MVR, was no different. MVR was the first Communist to dispel the myth that those who got expelled from the CPM would not survive in politics.
MVR, the three letters that defined the Communist politics in the undivided Kannur district in the 1970s and 80s, was always a terror to one section of people. While his partymen worshipped him like a hero, his political foes, the Congress, in those days dreaded to even address him by his real name.
MVR, who got involved in Communist politics at the age of 16, harboured no hope of claiming any position like several other activists of his time. When the party split in 1964, he needn’t have to think twice before following his mentor AKG. In 1968, Raghavan became the Kannur district secretary through an election. He had already became the president of the Pappinisseri panchayat. In 1970, he tasted his first major electoral victory when he was elected to the state Assembly from Madayi. He repeated this feat six more times in 1977, 1980, 1982, 1991, 2001 and 2006 from Thalipparamba, Koothuparamba, Payyannur, Azhikode, Kazhakkoottam and Thiruvananthapuram West. However, he had also lost elections in 1986, 1996 and 2011.
Raghavan’s politics took a rightist turn ever since he tried to present the alternative tactical document to strengthen the LDF and to defeat the Congress by inviting Muslim League and Kerala Congress also into the Left fold. But EMS could not have digested any original idea other than his own, and, naturally, MVR’s proposal was rejected. MVR’s attempt to convince the party Politburo made him a mote in the eye of patriarch EMS and he was expelled from the party on June 23, 1986. But his will power prompted him to form another party, CMP, in July, 1986. Speaking to this correspondent during his electioneering in Aranmula constituency in 1996, MVR had said that EMS was not a Stalinist but a ‘’second avatar of Stalin.’’
MVR had said that under the rule of EMS and his proteges, the CPM could never shrug off its Stalinist tag. He also had strong reservations about E K Nayanar. MVR had said that Nayanar knew about the preparation of the alternative document and had supported it. But, when it came before the party, he backtracked. Nayanar would be there with everyone. But when the time comes for taking risk, he would keep mum and would wear a seemingly innocent smile to hide his real self, MVR had opined.
MVR’s decision to join the UDF and K Karunakaran’s initiatives to induct him in the right wing UDF led the way for the people to see them as strange bed fellows sharing politics and power. MVR became the crowd puller of the UDF in the late 80s and early 90s.
His former comrades could not pardon him as they started baying for his blood during his first tenure as the Cooperation Minister in the K Karunakaran Ministry. This led to the Koothuparamba firing incident which cost the precious lives of five DYFI activists. The hatred towards MVR prompted the CPM to commit the heinous crime of setting fire to the Snake park at Pappinisseri, which was managed by MVR.
MVR had made history when he set up the Pariyaram Medical College under the cooperative sector, for the first time in the country. The efforts to gain control over the Medical College had frequently put him and his former comrades in a tight situation which often led to violence.