How a deity inspired Indira Gandhi to choose ‘hand’ symbol

The Election Commission suggested a hand, a bicycle or an elephant as the symbol and Indira Gandhi zeroed in on the hand.

Published: 29th September 2022 06:42 AM  |   Last Updated: 29th September 2022 03:59 PM   |  A+A-

The late prime minister Indira Gandhi visiting the Emoor Bhagavathy temple at Kallekulangara in Palakkad district

Express News Service

PALAKKAD: As Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra taken as part of strengthening the party and rejuvenating the cadre completes its Kerala leg, how the Congress chose ‘hand’ as the party’s symbol has a Palakkad connection.

Indira Gandhi, who attended the grand conference marking the merger of the Congress (A) led by AK Antony and the Congress (I) led by K Karunakaran in Ernakulam, took time off to visit the Sree Emoor Bhagavathy temple in Kallekulangara where the deity is the two raised open palms of the hands which inspired her to choose this symbol.

It was Soundarya Kailasam, wife of former Supreme Court judge Justice P S Kailasam, who had shared cordial relations with the Nehru family, who suggested that the party adopt the ‘hand’ symbol which is the deity of the temple. It is learnt that Indira Gandhi was influenced by the suggestion.

Later, after winning the Lok Sabha election from Chikmagalur, now Chikkamagalur, on the hand symbol, during her very first visit to Kerala on December 13, 1982, she expressed her desire to visit the temple.

She had come to the state to preside the conference at Marine Drive in Ernakulam announcing the merger of the Congress (I) and Congress (A),” said former Congress MP from Palakkad V S Vijayaraghavan. During her visit to Palakkad, a drinking water scheme was inaugurated by the then prime minister at Akkathethara and she visited the temple along with Justice Kailasam.

“My family head, Krishnan Namboodiri, who used to go to New Delhi to perform poojas, had also informed her of the powers of the idol of the deity, the open palms, which ultimately made her choose the hand symbol,” said Kaimukku Vasudevan Namboodiri, thantri of the temple.

“Indira Gandhi was happy to see the deity. The road which was narrow was widened and tarred for the visit within 48 hours,” said Kallekulangara Achuthankutty Marar.

After the Congress split post-Emergency, the party had lost the ‘cow and calf’ symbol. The Election Commission suggested a hand, a bicycle or an elephant as the symbol and Indira Gandhi zeroed in on the hand.


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