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E. K. Nayanar
9th Chief Minister of Kerala
In office
20 May 1996 – 13 May 2001
Preceded byA. K. Antony
Succeeded byA. K. Antony
In office
26 March 1987 – 17 June 1991
Preceded byK. Karunakaran
Succeeded byK. Karunakaran
In office
25 January 1980 – 20 October 1981
GovernorJothi Venkatachalam
Preceded byPresident's rule
Succeeded byK. Karunakaran
Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha
In office
Preceded byP. Kunhan
Succeeded byA. K. Gopalan
Leader of the Opposition, Kerala Legislative Assembly
In office
Preceded byK. Karunakaran
Succeeded byK. Karunakaran
In office
Preceded byK. Karunakaran
Succeeded byV. S. Achuthanandan
Secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) Kerala State Committee
In office
Preceded byC. H. Kanaran
Succeeded byV. S. Achuthanandan
In office
Preceded byV. S. Achuthanandan
Succeeded byChadayan Govindan
Member of the Politburo of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
In office
9 January 1992 – 19 May 2004
Personal details
Born(1919-12-09)9 December 1919
Kalliasseri, Madras Presidency, British India
(Now in Kerala, India)
Died19 May 2004(2004-05-19) (aged 85)
Delhi, India
Cause of deathHeart and Kidney failure
Resting placePayyambalam Beach, Kannur, Kerala
Political partyCommunist Party of India (Marxist)
As of 2 November, 2007
Source: Government of Kerala

Erambala Krishnan Nayanar (9 December 1919 – 19 May 2004) was an Indian politician who served as the 9th chief minister of Kerala from 1980 to 1981, 1987 to 1991 and again from 1996 to 2001. He served in that position for a total of 10 years, 11 months and 22 days, thus making him the longest-served Chief Minister of Kerala. He was a senior leader of the Communist Party of India (Marxist).

Early life

Nayanar was born in an aristocratic Nair family in Kalliasseri, Kannur district on 9 December 1919, as the second son of Govindan Nambiar and Narayani Amma. Despite his father, Govindan Nambiar, being a believer in the feudalism, Nayanar took to the national movement of the time at a very young age under the influence of his cousin, K.P.R. Gopalan. Nayanar was influenced by the events following the admission of a Dalit girl to local school under the leadership of K.P.R. Gopalan. Nayanar was a participant in student movements in the Malabar region as a part of Balasangham[1] and consequently dropped out of school. He also faced severe opposition from his father. He was drawn towards the socialist ideology guided by leaders like P. Krishna Pillai. Nayanar famously helped in the establishment of a library and named it Shri Harshan Library, after Harshan, a member of the oppressed caste who was tortured to death at the Kannur Central Jail for his participation in the national movement.[2]

Political life


Nayanar was an Indian National Congress member then he joined the Communist Party of India in 1939 at the age of 20. As a youth leader, Nayanar organized several movements. He led the forty-six-day-long Aaron Mill workers' protest against the dismissal of thirty workers by the mill management in 1940. He was jailed for six months as a consequence. Nayanar was one of the organizers of Morazha rally on 15 September 1940 in protest of rising prices. Two policemen were killed in the rally and Nayanar went into hiding for six years without knowing that he was not one of the accused. He also organized peasant uprisings in Kayyur. A policeman was stoned by protesters and subsequently died in Kayyur. Communist leaders were actively pursued by police following the incident, forcing Nayanar to go into hiding in forest areas in Eleri. Later on, as Chief Minister, he set up a Government College in the area in 1981. The college was renamed to E.K. Nayanar Memorial Government college. While in hiding in Travancore, he worked as a journalist for Kerala Kaumudi.[2][3]


After Independence, cases against Nayanar were dropped. He continued working actively for Communist Party of India. He was elected Kannur taluk secretary in 1948. He again was forced to go into hiding following 'Calcutta Thesis' proclamation that lead to banning Communist Party in India. During the Sino-Indian War, Nayanar was accused of being pro-China and was imprisoned in 1964 under the Preventive Detention Act.[3][4] He was the secretary of Kozhikode district committee of the united CPI from 1956 to 1964.[1]

Nayanar was also one of the 32 CPI national council members who walked out and formed CPI(M) in 1964. He was a central committee member of the CPI(M) from the 7th Congress in 1964. He served as the Secretary of the Kerala State Committee of the CPI(M) from 1972 to 1980 and again from 1992 to 1996. He was elected to the Polit Bureau at the 14th Congress in 1992.[1]

Legislative career

In 1967, he was elected to the Lok Sabha from Palakkad. He became an MLA for the first time from Irikkur legislative assembly in 1974. Since he has been elected as an MLA five more times (twice each from Malampuzha (1980 and 1982) and Thrikkarippur (1987 and 1991) and once from Thalasseri (1996), losing only once.[4]

Election Year Party Constituency Result
Loksabha 1967 CPI(M) Palakkad Won
1971 Kasaragod Lost
Kerala Legislative Assembly 1974 Irikkur Won
1980 Malampuzha Won
1982 Malampuzha Won
1987 Thrikkarippur Won
1991 Thrikkarippur Won
1996 Thalasseri Won

Chief Minister of Kerala

Electoral History as the leader of LDF

Kerala Assembly election results
Election Seats won Change Outcome
93 / 140
New Chief minister
63 / 140
Decrease 30 Leader of Opppsition
78 / 140
Increase 15 Chief Minister
48 / 140
Decrease 42 Opposition
80 / 140
Increase 32 Chief Minister

First term (1980 - 1982)

See also: First E. K. Nayanar ministry

The 1980 election saw the formation of two pre-poll alliances, viz. LDF and UDF, most of whose constituent parties were part of the erstwhile United Front. CPI(M)-led LDF to win the election, after winning 93 seats altogether. E. K. Nayanar was sworn in as the Chief Minister on 26 March 1980 [5] Nayanar was sworn in as the Chief Minister of Kerala on 26 March 1980 for the first time in 1980. He formed government with the support of Congress (A) under A. K. Antony and Kerala Congress under K. M. Mani. But both the parties left for United Democratic Front (UDF) coalition and the Government was dissolved on 20 October 1981. He served as the leader of the opposition from 1981 to 1987.

Second term (1987 - 1991)

See also: Second E. K. Nayanar ministry

2nd Nayanar Ministry (1987)

In the 1987 election under the leadership of Nayanar LDF secured a decisive majority in the assembly securing 78 seats. The UDF won 61 seats. Nayanar became the chief Minister for a second time in 1987. But he did not complete his term of five years as CPI(M) decided to contest elections early in 1991 assuming political climate to be favourable. But the left lost the elections and Nayanar became the leader of the opposition yet again. He resigned from that post the very next year when he was chosen as the Kerala state secretary of the CPI(M) and was succeeded by V. S. Achuthanandan as the opposition leader.[6]

Third term (1996 - 2001)

See also: Third E. K. Nayanar ministry

In the 1996 election, LDF secured a decisive majority in the assembly securing 80 seats. Nayanar initially had not contested the 1996 assembly elections but as V. S. Achuthanandan who was projected as the Chief Ministerial candidate lost in Mararikkulam.[7] A faction in the party wanted Susheela Gopalan to be the Chief Minister,[8] but when the matter was put to vote in the state secretariat, Nayanar was selected to be the CM. He contested and won by-elections in Thalasseri.[6] He is revered and respected by both the LDF and UDF for his contributions for the development of the state.

Nayanar launching Project Kerala: The Green Symphony (1998)


Nayanar introduced several reforms during his tenures as Chief Minister like The Kerala Coir workers Welfare Fund Act, 1987, The Kerala Khadi Workers Welfare Fund Act, 1989, The Kerala Abkari Workers Welfare Fund Act, 1989, The Kerala Construction Workers Welfare Fund Act, 1989 and the Kerala Ration Dealer's Welfare Fund Act, 1998. In 1996,the new LDF government led by EK Nayanar made People's Planning Campaign. The government commissioned a staggering 33% of its money to local governments like the panchayats, municipalities and corporations. The campaign thus allowed for the provision of a three-tier system of power in panchayats and a one tier system in urban areas, and also helped local people to determine and implement their own development priorities. This helped make the government more effective, more inclusive and moreover people-centric. Decentralisation was implemented.[2]

Technopark, Trivandrum

Nayanar visited the Apple facility in the Silicon Valley, United States in 1989. This led to form Techopark, India's first IT park and still remains the largest in India. Nayanar laid the foundation stone on 1990. Technopark came into being on 28 July 1990, after it was registered under the Travancore Cochin Scientific and Charitable Societies Act. As of 2020, the IT park employs 70,000 people and provide indirect employment to lakhs.[9]

In 1998, Kutumbashree, a movement for the empowerment of women, was launched by the Nayanar Government. Today, Kudumbashree is Kerala's 43 lakh women community network, which is spread across 941 Panchayats. Kudumbashree is always the most ignored pillar of the Kerala Model.[10] In 1989, EK Nayanar started the total literacy campaign, leading to a declaration in April 1991 that Kerala was the first totally literate state in the country.

Cochin International Airport

In 1996, Nayanar took over as chairman of the Cochin International Airport (CIAL) project. The construction picked up momentum during this period and Nayanar ensured that the airport project received special attention from the State Government and gave his unstinted support to CIAL. By 1997, substantial land was taken into CIAL possession through negotiated settlements. On 25 May 1999 in the presence of then President of India, K. R. Narayanan inaugurated the airport.[11]

Kannur University

The Kannur International Airport project was conceived in 1996 when Nayanar was the Chief Minister of Kerala.[12] Nayanar was instrumental for the establishment of Kannur University. The university was inaugurated on 2 March 1996 by Nayanar. The objective of the Kannur University Act, 1996 was to establish in the state of Kerala a teaching, residential and affiliating university to provide for the development of higher education in Kasargod and Kannur revenue Districts and the Mananthavady Taluk of Wayanad District.

Kochi Metro

The government led by Nayanar ideated the Kochi Metro Project in 1999.[13][14] The cabinet meeting held on 21 July 1999, of the then LDF government , assigned Rail India Technological and Economic Services (RITES) for the feasibility study for a metro rapid transport system in Kochi.[15] The techno-economic feasibility study for a Metro Rapid Transit System in Kochi was completed in 1999, which was begun in the same year, by Rail India Technological and Economic Services (RITES).[16] The techno-feasibility study report was submitted to the state government in 1999.[17]

Literary works

Nayanar has authored several works in both English and Malayalam. He was also an occasional poet. A few notable works are:[3]

  1. Olivukala Smrithkal: Memories of Hideout Days > Olivukala Smrithikal-.
  2. Doha Diary
  3. Marxism-Oru Mukhavara (Marxism-An introduction)
  4. Nehru-Gandhi Oru Padanam (Nehru-Gandhi A Study)
  5. Karl Marx
  6. American Diary
  7. Ente China Diary (My China Diary)
  8. Parliamentum Chila Vasthuthakalum (Parliament and Some Facts)
  9. Samara Theecholayil

Nayanar had been a correspondent and editor for Deshabhimani. He had worked in Chennai as Deshabhimani correspondent. He used to write a weekly column in Deshabhimani, Munnottu (Forward).[6][18]

In popular culture

Nayanar was renowned for his humorous remarks and speeches.[3] During his third term as Chief Minister, Nayanar also used to conduct a public interaction show, "Mukhya Mantriyodu Chothikyuka" ("Ask the Chief Minister") in Asianet TV channel.[19][20]

Personal life

Nayanar married Sarada Teacher, niece of K. P. R. Gopalan in 1958. They had two sons and two daughters.[3][4]


E. K. Nayanar Memorial at Payyambalam Beach, where he was cremated.

Nayanar was admitted to the AIIMS on 26 April for advanced treatment of diabetes, from which he suffered for a long time, after a brief stay at the Medical College Hospital in Thiruvananthapuram earlier. His condition became worse following a massive heart attack, which was his third, on 6 May when he was put on the life support system. He died on 19 May 2004 at the age of 85 after suffering from heart and kidney failure.[2] He was cremated with full state honours at Payyambalam Beach, Kannur. He is survived by his wife, children, in-laws and grandchildren.

See also


  1. ^ a b c "Comrade E K Nayanar". People's Democracy. Archived from the original on 11 December 2004. Retrieved 23 September 2004.
  2. ^ a b c d "The people's leader". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 17 October 2012. Retrieved 19 January 2012.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Chief Ministers and Leaders of Opposition of Kerala" (PDF). Secretariat of the Kerala legislature.
  4. ^ a b c "Nayanarude Jeevitham". OneIndia. 17 May 2001. Retrieved 19 January 2012.
  5. ^ "History of Kerala legislature - Government of Kerala, India". Archived from the original on 14 August 2020. Retrieved 26 May 2019.
  6. ^ a b c "Nayanar: Crowd puller of Lefitst forces". The Times of India. 19 May 2004. Archived from the original on 3 January 2013. Retrieved 19 January 2012.
  7. ^ "History of Kerala legislature - Government of Kerala, India". Archived from the original on 14 August 2020. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
  8. ^ Radhakrishnan, M. G. (31 May 1996). "Elections 1996: Marxists-led LDF dislodges Congress(I) and its allies". India Today. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
  9. ^ "Technopark, India's first & largest IT park, celebrates 30th anniversary". Manorama. 30 July 2020. Retrieved 29 August 2022.
  10. ^ "Kudumbashree - The world's largest Women's network" (PDF). Kudumbashree Mission. Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 November 2020. Retrieved 2 November 2020.
  11. ^ "About CIAL A Brief History". Manorama. 30 July 2020. Retrieved 30 July 2020.
  12. ^ "Kerala becomes first Indian state to have four international airports". Livemint. 9 December 2018. Retrieved 29 August 2022.
  13. ^ "Narendra Modi flags off Kochi Metro, takes maiden ride". Mint. 17 June 2017. Retrieved 22 July 2017.
  14. ^ Darade, Pooja (16 June 2017). "Kochi Metro to be inaugurated by PM Modi on Saturday: Interesting facts about Kerala's first metro service". Archived from the original on 16 June 2017. Retrieved 16 June 2017.
  15. ^ "Kochi Metro Railway: RITES will conduct study". Malayala Manorama. Kerala. 22 July 1999. Retrieved 16 June 2017.
  16. ^ "Details of the Studies/Detailed Project Report/Comprehensive mobility planundertaken under the scheme of UT planning" (PDF). Ministry of Urban Development. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 June 2017. Retrieved 16 June 2017.
  17. ^ Sudhi, K.S. (13 July 2003). "Konkan Railway misleading Kerala on sky bus project". The Hindu. Kerala. Archived from the original on 16 June 2017. Retrieved 16 June 2017.
  18. ^ "Vajpayee, Jinnah are two sides of the same coin: Nayanar". Rediff. Retrieved 19 January 2012.
  19. ^ "Facing the arc lights". The Hindu. 11 July 2007. Archived from the original on 6 October 2008.
  20. ^ "Ask the Chief Minister!". Rediff.

Further reading

Preceded byC.H. Mohammed Koya Chief Minister of Kerala 1980–1981 Succeeded byK. Karunakaran Preceded byK. Karunakaran Chief Minister of Kerala 1987–1991 Succeeded byK. Karunakaran Preceded byA. K. Antony Chief Minister of Kerala 1996–2001 Succeeded byA. K. Antony