Thiruvananthapuram: The political storm raised by V.T. Balram's statement accusing legendary communist leader A. K. Gopalan of paedophilia is yet to settle with CPM cadres taking to the streets almost daily, demanding action against the Congress legislator.
Mr Balram's derogatory references had left even senior Congressmen red-faced. Despite serious political differences, top Congress leaders had always held AKG in high esteem. One incident that brings out this rare camaraderie goes back to 1973 when AKG suffered a mild heart attack.
Noted cardiologist Dr G. Vijayaraghavan, who was assistant professor of cardiology at Government Medical College, Thiruvananthapuram at that time, recollected the turn of events. "Dr Pai asked me to report at Kochi immediately. By evening E.M.S. Namboodiripad and K.R. Gowri came to pick me. On the way we stopped at Nair's Hospital, Kollam, to pick a first-generation cardiac monitoring equipment," he said.
"I still remember clearly EMS had boiled vegetables for dinner at Kayamkulam rest house. I and Gowriamma had rice and fish curry," he said.
On reaching Kochi, they stopped near a boat jetty to buy newspapers. "I was elated to see my name in print for the first time," the cardiologist said.
"On reaching Kochi, I came to know that it was on Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's direction that ICU facility was arranged at Shushushra Nursing home," he said.
"At that time, AKG was having recurring chest pain. Immediately the heart - pulse rate monitoring equipment was installed. I was asked by Dr Pai to prepare a detailed report on the treatment," he recollected.
Later, a defence staff member came to Dr Vijayaraghavan and demanded a report. "It is to be despatched to the prime minister immediately. For the next seven days I would prepare the report daily and the messenger would dispatch it to the PMO," he said. The prime minister was personally monitoring AKG's condition.
Against doctors' advice, AKG sought leave from hospital after 20 days. "I want to be with my people," he said as he left for Cherthala and then Delhi.
"On my return, I found a telephone installed at home. It was unbelievable as the waiting period then was five years. Later I came to know that AKG had rung up commissioner of telephones and directed him to install the phone. The application was submitted later," Dr Vijayaraghavan added....