KOCHI: Like it or lump it, a witty politician is a delight to watch even when he is shooting his mouth off. A few years ago when the unusually reticent Marxist, Pinarayi Vijayan, assumed office, a prominent media house craned its cameras at Pinarayi every time he shared the dais with Uzhavur. Why? To capture visuals of a smiling Pinarayi, a rare sight for anyone before he assumed office of the Chief Minister.
If humour was not the most revered forte of many politicians, Uzhavur Vijayan wore it like an armour. He may be the only political leader in the state who had a pan Kerala sway despite the fact he never adorned any key parliamentary posts except that of the first vice-president of Kottayam district council.
His blunt humour, sometimes bordering on the thin line of outright wit and derision, did help him court friendships cutting across party lines and forge new alliance. Even his rival camp had a fair share of admirers.
“I don’t subscribe to his ideology. However, I was a huge fan of his wit and enjoyed his speeches. Ironically, it was mostly against me, mainly the Congress party. Even when he was taking a snide dig at me, I enjoyed it as it was laced with humour,” said actor Salim Kumar.
Examples are galore of his waggish world of humour. During the heated campaign for his sole Assembly election in his home turf in Pala in 2001, a reporter asked, “What are the winning chances?” Uzhavoor in his characteristic vein replied with a smile, “Death comes but once. So why should one die after being hit by a bicycle rather than have a ‘royal’ end underneath the wheels of a Mercedes Benz!” He was referring to his formidable opponent, K M Mani.
A presser held in Kottayam to introduce the office- bearers of the first district council clearly illustrates his quick wit. T V Abraham, commonly referred to as TV, told reporters, “I am TV, the president of the district council.” Vice-president Uzhavoor, who was seated next to him, blurted out, “I am the antenna and my name is Uzhavoor Vijayan.” Guffaws filled the room.
Once he had to face an angry mob in Central Kerala as a group of people, allegedly Congress activists, started pelting stones at the meeting held as part of the LDF rally. Uzhavoor took the microphone and hollered, “Stop the stone pelting.” To everyone’s surprise, it did stop for a fleeting moment only to resume again. Then he continued, “I am the only one from my party. More damage will be to your own men who are here in large numbers.” The crowd dispersed silently.