Kochi, June 5 (IANS) Former Kerala minister Lonappan Nambadan breathed his last at a private hospital here Wednesday afternoon, family sources said. He was 77.
Nambadan was ailing for a while. He is survived by his wife and three children.
Popularly known as Nambadan Mash (short for master), Nambadan had served as a schoolteacher. He was renowned for his wit. Each time he stood up to speak in the Kerala assembly, his audience listened with rapt attention, waiting for the next joke.
Nambadan began his political career in the Congress party, and later became a founder-member of the Kerala Congress. In the mid-1980s, he contested as a Left-supported independent candidate.
Nambadan was a minister in the K. Karunakaran government of 1980. When he switched his loyalties in 1982 to the Left Front, the state government fell.
After shifting his allegiance, Nambadan became a minister in the Left Front government led by E.K. Nayanar (1987 to 1991).
He was six-time legislator, between 1977 and 2001. He contested, but lost the 2001 assembly polls.
In the 2004 Lok Sabha polls, he tasted political victory again, trouncing K. Karunakaran's daughter Padmaja Venugopal by a margin of more than a lakh votes in the Mukundapuram constituency of Thrissur district.
Nambadan had also long fought for the declaration of Malayalam as Kerala's official language of communication in all departments of the state. A formal declaration to this effect was made by the state government in 2012.