Kozhikode: Congress veteran and former minister Aryadan Muhammed passed away at a private hospital here on Sunday. He was 87.
The news of his death was made public at 7.40 am. He had been under treatment for over a week.
His body will be kept at his residence in Nilambur for the public to pay their last respects. The funeral will be held at Mukatta Valiya Juma Masjid on Monday at 9 am.
Aryadan was born on May 15, 1935 as the second of nine children to Aryadan Unni and Kadiyumma. He received his education from Nilambur Government Manadevan High School and was the captain of the school football team.
He entered politics through trade unionism. In 1959, he became president of the Wandoor Farka Congress committee. In 1960, he was elected secretary of the Kozhikode District Congress Committee (DCC). He became a member of the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) in 1962. When the Malappuram district was formed in 1969, he became the DCC president. He served as KPCC secretary from 1978.
Though he contested the Kerala Assembly elections in 1965 and 1967, Aryadan lost to K Kunjali. On July 28, 1969, he was imprisoned as an accused in the Kunjali murder case. However, he was later acquitted by the High Court.
It was in 1977 that he won from Nilambur and reached the Assembly for the first time. He was part of the Left Front Group A in 1980. Aryadan contested to the Lok Sabha from Ponnani and lost. That year, however, he was made the minister for forests and labour in the Left front cabinet led by E K Nayanar.
As a result, C Haridas had to give up his MLA position for Aryadan, who defeated Mullappally Ramachandran in the byelection. However, he lost to T K Hamsa in 1982.
From 1987 till 2011, Aryadan won every election from Nilambur.
In 1995, he was made tourism minister in the A K Antony cabinet. In 2005 and 2011, Aryadan served as the minister for electricity in the UDF government led by Oommen Chandy.
His contribution to the state's welfare was significant. In 1980, while serving as the labour minister, he ensured the implementation of unemployment wages and agricultural labour pensions.
In 2005, when he was the minister for power, he brought electricity to the hilly regions under the Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana. In 2011, schemes were implemented to solve the issue of voltage inadequacy in the Malabar region, especially Malappuram. He also took the initiative to provide power to tribal colonies situated in forests.
CM conveys condolence
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan condoled the demise of Aryadan Muhammed. He remembered the senior Congress leader as one who always upheld the values of secularism. "Aryadan was a leader who worked both in agreement and disagreement with the Left front," said Pinarayi.
A prominent legislator, Aryadan always excelled in presenting his arguments with fervour in the Assembly, he added.
Speaker A N Shamseer too paid homage to the leader's secular values. "A distinguished legislator and popular leader, Aryadan Muhammed stood at the forefront of upholding secular positions. My heartfelt condolences to his family members, friends and party workers," said Shamseer.
Rahul Gandhi to pay respects
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi termed Aryadan's demise a great loss to the party and him personally. Rahul will take a break from his Bharat Jodo Yatra and visit Nilambur to pay his last respects.