The present year, which is drawing to a close, has had its share of major news stories, both positive as well as negative. Express turns the clock back to see up-close the personalities who made news in the ‘soon-to-be the year gone by’
MARK OF HONOUR: Akkitham
Akkitham Achuthan Namboothiri, the philosopher-poet, was chosen for the 55th Jnanpith Award at the age of 93. He is the sixth litterateur from the state to get the coveted award. The Padma Shri awardee has authored 55 books.
MAKING HISTORY: Bindu Ammini and Kanakadurga
Around three months after the Supreme Court lifted the ban on the entry of women aged between 10 and 50 into the Sabarimala temple, Bindu Ammini and Kanakadurga made history by becoming the first two women in the age group to enter the hill shrine.
HONOURED, AT LAST: Nambi Narayanan
The former ISRO scientist — who was cleared of the charges in the espionage case — was conferred with Padma Bhushan. On Thursday, the state cabinet gave its in-principle approval to give him a compensation of I1.3 crore to settle a case filed against his unlawful arrest.
THE MARKS ROW: K T Jaleel
Higher Education Minister K T Jaleel remained the most controversial minister in the LDF government after Opposition parties levelled allegations against him regarding the controversial awarding of special moderation marks to students of MG University and APJ Abdul Kalam Technological University. Even Governor Arif Mohammad Khan did not take the issue kindly.
A FILMY DRAMA: Shane Nigam
Actor Shane Nigam landed in a soup after he changed his appearance, ignoring the characters he was portraying in movies ‘Veyil’ and ‘Qurbani’. The Producers’ Association imposed a ban on Shane and said they will not cooperate with him in future ventures. The issue, which began in November, is yet to be resolved.
KOODATHAYI HORROR: Jollyamma Joseph
In October, Jollyamma Joseph, 47, a mother of two, hit the headlines after it was revealed that she allegedly killed six family members, including a toddler, between 2002 and 2016. Jolly committed the crime, which came to be known as Koodathayi serial murders, by administering cyanide. She was arrested on October 5.
CHECKMATE: S L Narayanan
Grandmaster S L Narayanan clinched his first international title by winning El Llobregat Open in Spain, a FIDE-rated event. The 21-year-old Thiruvananthapuram |native beat Bartel Mateusz of Poland in a thriller despite starting as a third seed in the event.
MASTERSTROKE: Sanju Samson
The wicket-keeper batsman scored a double hundred in the Vijay Hazare Trophy (national one-day tournament) against Goa and his unbeaten 212 became the highest ever individual score in the tournament. Sanju’s performance helped him receive a call-up to the Indian team for the T20I series’ against Bangladesh and West Indies, although he didn’t play any match.
COMMENDABLE FEAT: Ramya Haridas
Ramya Haridas, 32, became the second Dalit woman Parliamentarian from Kerala by unseating CPM’s sitting MP P K Biju by a stunning margin of 1.59 lakh votes. Daughter of a daily wager, she was handpicked for the LS polls by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.
POLITICAL ASCENT: V Muraleedharan
Former BJP state president V Muraleedharan was made Minister of State for External Affairs & Parliamentary Affairs in the second Narendra Modi government in May. Elected to the Rajya Sabha from Maharashtra in 2018, the 60-year-old is also the Government Deputy Chief Whip in the Upper House.
PALA TAKEOVER: Mani C Kappan
NCP leader Mani C Kappan wrested the Pala seat, a stronghold of the Kerala Congress (M) represented by its chairman K M Mani for 54 years. Kappan defeated his nearest opponent Jose Tom Pulikunnel by a margin of 2,943 votes.
In GUV SEAT: P S Sreedharan Pillai
During his short tenure as BJP state president, P S Sreedharan Pillai failed to cash in on the Sabarimala issue. However, the year ended on a high note for him after the Centre appointed him the Governor of Mizoram.
THE FALL: Sriram Venkataraman
The IAS officer — hailed for his anti-encroachment drive in Munnar — made headlines for wrong reasons after the car allegedly driven by him under the influence of alcohol rammed the motorbike of journalist K M Basheer, in August, killing the latter. The incident snowballed into a controversy, especially after the bureaucratic machinery allegedly swung into action to help the officer.
SON STROKE: Binoy Kodiyeri
Binoy Kodiyeri, Dubai-based businessman and son of CPM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, was accused in a rape and cheating case filed by a 33-year-old former bar dancer hailing from Bihar. As directed by the court, Binoy underwent a DNA test to ascertain the woman’s claim that he fathered her child. The allegation brought embarrassment to the party.
K M Mani
The death of Kerala Congress(M) stalwart K M Mani — popularly known as Mani Sir — on April 9, 2019, was termed as the passing away of a political era. In a political career spanning 51 years, Mani became the state’s finance minister for 13 times, the longest in history. He was also the country’s longest-serving legislator.
Renowned director Lenin Rajendran passed away on January 14, at the age of 67. He has directed 16 movies in Malayalam, which helped him in winning national and state awards. His noted movies include Chillu, Swathi Thirunal, Vachanam, Daivathinte Vikruthikal and Rathrimazha.
M J Radhakrishnan
Noted cinematographer M J Radhakrishnan, 60, died on July 12. He won the national award for cinematography, posthumously in 2019 for the movie ‘Olu’.
NCP state president and former Transport Minister Thomas Chandy, 72, who represented Kuttanad constituency in the assembly, died on December 20, 2019.
Veteran trade unionist and Congress leader Kadavoor Sivadasan passed away on May 17, 2019. A four-time legislator, Sivadasan was part of the governments headed by K Karunakaran and A K Antony.
Ace cinematographer Ramachandra Babu, 72, passed away on December 21. He has cranked the camera for over 130 films which include all the south Indian languages.