Five Rajya Sabha members from Kerala to bow out

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Five Rajya Sabha members from Kerala are set to retire on completion of their terms by July.

While A.K.Antony (Congress), M.V.Shreyams Kumar (LJD), K.Somaprasad (CPI-M) will hang up their boots on April 2, superstar Suresh Gopi, a nominated member (BJP) will retire on April 24. The term of K.J.Alphons the CPI-M independent legislator-turned-BJP MP ends on July 4.

Of the five leaders, only Congress veteran Antony falls in the category of a full time politician. It’s still not clear if the 81-year-old will be active in state politics as he has already announced his plans of leaving Delhi to settle in his small house in the state capital city.

Sixty-four-year-old Somaprasad was a surprise selection by the CPI-M as he was never a flashy leader. He was practically involved in party politics in his Kollam district.

Son of legendary Socialite M.P.Veerendra Kumar, Shreyams Kumar is more of a media baron than a full time politician. Though he is the Loktantrik Janata Dal president, he is known more for the media group that he heads- Mathrubhumi.

He is a two-time legislator but after his loss in the 2016 Assembly polls, his father decided to return to the CPI-M led Left front. After the demise of his father, he was given the remaining term of his father in the Upper House and that was how he became a member.

Despite being given a sitting seat of the CPI-M, he lost the Kalpetta Assembly seat to the Congress in the 2021 April Assembly polls.

Kumar’s attempt to get a full term, early this month was nipped in the bud by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan who gave his seat to the CPI.

Noted actor Suresh Gopi was handpicked by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he was an invitee to the swearing in of Modi in 2014 and in 2016, he was nominated to the Upper House.

Consequent to his nomination, his first love – acting took a back seat and he has dropped enough hints that he would like to focus more on his acting career. Hence, its’ very unlikely that he will get a second term.

Of the five, the odd man out is Alphons who quit as a senior IAS Kerala cadre officer days before the 2006 Assembly polls and was fielded by the CPI-M as their independent candidate from his home town Kanjirapally in Kottayam district and won.

In 2011, even while the Left was keen to field him again, he decided otherwise and not only did he shift base to Delhi, but also joined the BJP.

He was made a Union Minister in 2017 and later got elected to the Upper House from Rajasthan.

In 2019, Lok Sabha polls BJP fielded him from the Ernakulam Lok Sabha seat, but had to be content with third position.

Kerala has nine seats in the Upper House and there are two other Keralites currently in the Upper House, but elected from other states – V.Muraleedharan (Maharashtra) and Rajeev Chandrasekhar (Karnataka).

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