Thiruvananthapuram: Veteran CPM leader and former Kerala Finance Minister, V Viswanatha Menon (92) passes away. He was undergoing treatment at a private hospital in Kochi.
Menon was the finance minister in the E K Nayanar ministry in 1987. He was a Member of the Parliament for two terms and has presented five budgets in the Kerala legislature.
For a long time, he held the record of presenting the longest budget speech in the history of Kerala. His record speech of 2 hours 35 minutes was later altered by the late K M Mani’s record of 2 hours 36 minutes and 25 seconds.
The veteran CPM leader, popularly known as ‘Ambadi Viswam’, held several important designations for CPM in parliamentary democracy including town councillor, MP, MLA and minister before distancing himself from the party. He later, accused the party for losing its integrity and becoming the Congress party’s B team.
Jyoti Basu’s announcement that Sonia Gandhi would be the next Prime Minister prompted Menon’s immediate exit from the party. His re-entry to politics occured in 2004 Lok-Sabha by elections much to the surprise of his former party.
He contested against the CPM with the support of BJP and BTR-EMS-AKG People’s Forum. Though the candidacy sparked debates across the state, it was the beginning of his political solitude.
The veteran leader responsible for bringing the Cochin shipyard to Kerala and steering the finance ministry of the state withdrew into his shell after losing the elections.