THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Congress president-elect Rahul Gandhi will attend the birth centenary of the late Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) stalwart Baby John in Thiruvananthapuram on Thursday. The party is at present a constituent of the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF). Baby John, also known as ‘Kerala Kissinger’ for his proven ability in managing political crises when the state experienced political turmoil, was born on 25 October 1917. He began his political career as a member of the Congress. He together with his comrades, later left the party and founded the RSP.
Baby John’s long legislative career began during 1952-54 when he was elected as a member of Travancore -Cochin Legislative Assembly. Subsequently, he was elected to the second Kerala Legislative Assembly in 1960 from Karunagappally, which he successfully represented in 1967 and 1970 as well. Later, he moved to Chavara constituency which he represented it since the fifth KLA in 1977 till 2001. Baby John was revenue minister under four CMs – C. Achutha Menon, P. K. Vasudevan Nair, K. Karunakaran and A. K. Antony. Later, he became the education as well as irrigation and labour minister under E. K. Nayanar ministry.
Baby John, who was with the United front led by the Congress during the Emergency, left the front along with Congress (A) in 1979 to form the LDF. He also had stints as general secretary of the RSP, state general secretary and national president of UTUC, the party’s labour union. While most of the leaders and his party workers called him ‘Baby sir’, Muslim League leaders used to call him ‘Baby Haji’, recalls his son and former labour minister Shibu Baby John. “My father attended the state committee meeting of the Muslim League, probably the only non Muslim League leader to do so, in the early 70’s.” he said. This earned him another nick name, ‘Baby Haji’, he said.