THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The newly chosen UDF convener M M Hassan took office on Saturday.
Ever since Benny Behanan was elected from Chalakudy Lok Sabha constituency during 2019, the stage was almost set for M M Hassan’s appointment as UDF convener. But with Benny Behanan not stepping down, Hassan’s appointment as UDF convener did not happen as expected.
With former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy being caught in a ‘catch -22’ situation among his two loyalists, Benny Behanan and Hassan, the former was in no mood to pass over the baton to the latter.
When V M Sudheeran stepped down from KPCC president post citing health reasons, it paved the way for Hassan to come at the helm of the party during March 2017.
Even though Hassan was made the temporary KPCC president, he was later appointed as a full time president which lasted for 18 months in office.
Hassan had led Janamochana Yatra to garner funds towards the last Lok Sabha elections. After his role as KPCC president, Hassan was not holding any responsible party posts.
During the last general elections, he had evinced keen interest in contesting from Wayanad Lok Sabha seat. But Oommen Chandy was keen to field a younger leader which saw luck favouring the then Kozhikode DCC president T Siddique.
But Oommen Chandy’s plans were torpedoed by the AICC leadership which saw Rahul Gandhi being contesting from Wayanad.
However, Oommen Chandy promised Hassan the UDF convener’s post, but their plans did not work out as planned.
When Benny Behanan announced his dramatic exit as UDF convener last week, the stage was almost set for Hassan’s entry.
After getting the nod from the AICC leadership on Friday, Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala announced the appointment of Hassan as UDF convener.
Before taking charge, Hassan duly visited his close friend and leader, Oommen Chandy as well as KPCC president and Opposition Leader, Mullapally Ramachandran and Ramesh Chennithala respectively. He exuded confidence in leading the front in the imminent local bodies and Assembly elections.
“The UDF will not be holding any talks with the Jose K Mani faction of the Kerala Congress (Mani). My aim is to steer the front in the 2021 Assembly elections where the UDF will form the next Government,” said Hassan to The New Indian Express.
Malick Mohammed Hassan entered student politics at the age of 16 during the time of A. K. Antony. His friendship with Antony and Oommen Chandy had definitely benefitted in his political milieu.
73-year-old Hassan's everlasting friendship with Antony is synonymous since the last five decades and more.
Come election time, it's a cliché to see both of them going together to the polling stations with their family members.
Moreover, when they decided to have a roof over their head, they ensured to have their respective homes in the same locality at Easwaravilasom Road at Jagathy here.
When Hassan turns back and looks at his life, he is a contented leader who has steadfastly been a loyal leader belonging to the ‘A’ camp.
“I have been a Congress party worker all through my life and everyone knows about my style of functioning. My friendship with Antony, Oommen Chandy and Vayalar Ravi goes a long way since my KSU days,” said Hassan.
He has been a legislator five times, twice from Kazhakkoottam (1930-1982 and 1982-1987) and twice from Trivandrum West (1987-1991 and 1991-1996) and also from Kayamkulam constituency.
Hassan served as the minister for information and parliamentary affairs in the Antony Government during 2001, where he also held the portfolio of minister for Non-Resident Keralites Affairs by representing Kayamkulam constituency.
But despite his group supporting him, Hassan could not get a seat in the 2006 and 2011 Assembly elections. However, he had a tough time tasting defeat at the hands of CPI leader Mullakkara Ratnakaran at Chadayamangalam constituency in the 2016 Assembly elections.
Hassan's family comprises, A. K. Rahiya, a retired senior manager of Syndicate Bank and the couple's daughter, Nisha Safeer who is working as a management consultant in Bengaluru.