COVID-19 lockdown unleashes politicians' creativity

COVID-19 lockdown unleashes politicians' creativity
Politicians in Kerala are making good use of the downtime by writing their hearts out. Cartoon by Baiju Paulose/Manorama.
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The coronavirus-caused lockdown has threatened the livelihood of even writers. They have unlikely competition from a class of people who had been lampooned for not caring much for letters. Politicians in Kerala are making good use of the downtime by writing their hearts out.

Former KPCC president M M Hassan is working on an autobiography that could reflect on his 50-year-long political career. He said that he had been planning the book for long but the lockdown presented him the time and opportunity to sit down and write.

Another Congress leader, T N Prathapan, the Member of Parliament from Thrissur, wrote his debut literary work. The book is a collection of notes on how he rediscovered the simple pleasures of life during the lockdown. The MP got a rare opportunity to take in the wonders of nature on a quiet morning in his house at Thalikkulam in Thrissur. He wrote that there is no bigger paradise than home.

Indian Union Muslim League leader and former state minister M K Muneer has been analysing his icon, former prime minister Indira Gandhi.

Those who are yet to find the writers in them are busy reading. The prime minister's order to stay home has found a willing follower in CPI's state secretary, Kanam Rajendran. Kanam has immersed himself in the world of books in his house in Thiruvananthapuram, much like former KPCC president K Muraleedharan in Kozhikode.

The present KPCC president, Mullappalli Ramachandran, has also introduced some changes to his lifestyle. He has latched himself to his mobile phone, perhaps in a bid to address his colleagues' complaints that it was difficult to get in touch with him.

Some of the other leaders have turned into health freaks. Former Union minister K V Thomas has reined in diabetes for the first time in so many years. His secret? Yoga and a tension-free life.

Though political leaders are like fish out of water in the absence of public interaction, many of them are enjoying time with families. CPM leader and Left Democratic Front (LDF) convener A Vijayaraghavan spent more than a week in his house with his wife and son. He had not done so since he built the house in Thrissur 15 years ago.

Similarly, CPM politburo member S Ramachandran Pillai could spend time with his family for about a month in his house. He had been away with party work since moving to Delhi in 1989.

However, not everyone was happy sitting at home. Kerala Electricity Minister M M Mani's habit of touring his home district forced Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to counsel him. For former minister P J Joseph, it was life as usual. His dairy farm was doing brisk business without a care for the coronavirus.

Shifting base

Ramachandran Pillai has been overseeing the working of the CPM's Kerala headquarters since he is in Thiruvananthapuram. Keeping him company is state secretariat member K N Balagopal.

The CPI's headquarters offered a temporary home for assistant state secretary Sathyan Mokeri and his wife, P Vasantham, a member of the state executive council.

K C Venugopal's house at Keshavadasapuram in Thiruvananthapuram has turned an online hub of the activities of the Congress. He is responsible for coordinating the videoconferences attended by party president Sonia Gandhi.

The BJP is also in the cyber age. Party state president K Surendran drew criticism for travelling to Thiruvananthapuram in violation of the lockdown. Apparently, he had to move around to coordinate party activities because his house at Ulliyeri in Kozhikode was low on mobile phone signal.

IUML state president Panakkad Sayed Hyderali Shihab Thangal met with non-resident Indians via videoconference.

The death anniversary of former prime minister Morarji Desai was marked by the socialists in Malabar in an online gathering last Friday. Inaugurating the online meeting was the 82-year-old former minister, C K Nanu.

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