THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Prayar Gopalakrishnan, 72, Congress leader and former chairman of the board of Travancore Devaswom, died on Saturday at a private hospital in Vattappara. He was on his way to the capital when he became unwell and was taken to a nearby hospital, but breathed his last. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and a horde of other leaders mourned Prayar.
Prayar is survived by his wife S Sudharma, his children Dr Rani Krishna, Dr Veni Krishna and Vishnu G Krishnan. The funeral will take place later. He represented the assembly constituency of Chadayamangalam in 2001 and had served for a long time as the president of MILMA. When the CPM took control of nearly every major cooperative society, Prayar ensured that MILMA remained in place with Congress. He courted controversy when he took a negative stance against women entering Sabarimala. This saw him take a beating with CM Pinarayi which led to his ousting as TDB chairman by the government through an executive order.
A provocative Prayar went to the Supreme Court against the LDF government’s stance on the issue of women entering Sabarimala. It also landed the state leadership of Congress at the time. However, Prayar did not work against his party despite the BJP’s attempt to poach him. He then told reporters that he would die as a member of Congress. In his condolence message, Pinarayi recalled Prayar’s long sleeves at the helm of MILMA and TDB. Opposition leader VD Satheesan said Prayar had upheld political integrity and honesty throughout his life. His passing is a great loss for the party, Satheesan said.
State Congress Chairman K Sudhakaran said Prayar held the tricolor close to his heart and kept the sentiments of Congress in his mind until his death. Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala recalled that when the Youth Congress and KSU created storms in state politics, Prayar was at the forefront. Prayar was known for his humility and politeness in public life, Chennithala added.