meeting a Leader… K Karunakaran, RIP

The Leader

I remember interviewing Kannoth Karunakaran at his home in Mallapuram, his daughter was fighting Elections. NDA was in power and UPA did not exist, but when i decided to interview this stalwart of Indian politics i was in doubts, many doubts… i’d seen him in news and papers but he was a leader who was opposing Congress leaders like A.K Antony while staying in the party, when I reached his house, I felt awkward by asking for the house of Mr. Karunakaran, because he was called ‘Leader’ by his supporters, whenever i pronounced his name, i was given a dirty look near his house, because only few called him by his name, for everyone he was only Leader. I asked can I meet Mr. Karunakaran, the reply was ‘ Leader is having breakfast, please wait outside..’ after he was done with the breakfast the leftover was distributed to poor who took it as Prasad, I was also offered, but i could not accept that, blame it on my North Indian roots, I agains asked again, can i interview Mr. Karunakaran, I was again asked to wait… wait got longer and i started to get impatient, suddenly a man came to me and informed that Leader is ready for interview, I was happy, i got a man who was infamous for his anti-party remarks and still indispensable, I informed my Head Office in Noida and my boss was elated because he hoped for getting some spice from usually politically bland state of Kerala, i asked, sir, you’ve fielded your daughter into the election, isn’t it nepotism, his reply was, ” she is eligible to fight election, then why is question of nepotism arise, constitution doesn’t bar her from fighting elections’ then i asked there are many fractions in Kerala Congress, how are you suppose to win, he reply was quick and quite energetic, ask A K Antony for it, I did not leave congress, he did and he came back, I am not the outside, he is the one who goes out of the party and comes back, and then he started to gave blunt answers which was bit of shock for me, but interview concluded, I said thanks to him and he regained his soft spoken and calm avatar, he asked me, have you had food, i said no thank you i had to file this story, i sat in the car drove to Kochi, and sent the tape from Kochi airport, and began thinking what made him lose his ground in Party, there are many leaders who still holds the fort but what went wrong for K Karunakara The Leader? i asked my friend who is a senior journalist and was bureau chief of Kerala at that time, he told me his son damaged Karunakaran’s reputation like no other, Next day i returned to Thiruanantpuram and asked few local people about K Karunakaran and their reply was shocking, they claimed that his son was taking money from people to get their work done, they also said he was charging 20% of the total money involved and few of them said people’ve started calling him Mr. 20%, that was much before Zardari was given similar name, and I was shocked, on the result day I came to know about her daughter Padmaja lost the election, and this time I wa not surprised at all, later i remember he created Congress ( Indira ) but things were far different, a game changer and one of the tallest leaders of the country had already lost his last battle, he could never effectively return to politics after that, but his size still is gigantic in indian politics, RIP K Karunakarn


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