B Sreejan | TNN | Dec 15, 2015, 09.33 AM IST
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The decision of political leaders to stay away from the unveiling of the statue of former chief minister R Sankar in Kollam on Tuesday has gifted the Sangh Parivar a perfect stage for ‘adopting’ one of the tall leaders in state politics, who had been a Congressman till his last breath.
Though SNDP general secretary Vellappally Natesan on Monday owned up the responsibility for cancelling the invitation to Chandy, sources in the know hinted that Natesan was forced to take such a decision on BJP national president Amit Shah’s behest. Initially, the state BJP leaders were also unaware of Shah’s message. Sources said the Parivar agenda was to hijack Sankar as a Hindu leader.
Sankar’s clout among Ezhavas and his assertion of Ezhava identity in politics had prompted the Parivar to ‘adopt’ him, especially at a time when it plans huge expansion in the state. Bharatheeya Vichara Kendram director P Parameswaran had written about Sankar attending a RSS sakha in Kollam in the early ’50s. Around that time, along with Mannathu Padmanabhan, Sankar had tried to establish the Hindu Mandalam. He had served as the SNDP Yogam general secretary too.
“It is unfair to brand him a Hindu leader. He was asserting his Ezhava identity to ensure the support of Ezhavas to the Congress as the Communist party had already taken over the patronage of Ezhavas,” said former Congress leader Cherian Philip who had a close association with Sankar.