I keep an eye on fellow-legislators: P.C. George
By Sanu George, Thiruvananthapuram, March 8 : Sixty-two-year-old six-time legislator P.C. George, currently vice chairman of the Kerala Congress (Mani), the third-biggest ally of the ruling Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF), is perhaps one politician that not many will dare take on.
Whether he sits in the opposition or in treasury benches, there is seldom a day when the burly George (who sports a Central Travancore paunch typical of many elderly people in the area) is not in the news.
And not always can a politician be in the news for the right reason.
George's latest antic is his censure of former close friend and now arch rival, Cinema Minister K.B. Ganesh Kumar, over a "sleaze story".
It was George who broke the news that Kumar was beaten up by his lover's husband.
The revelation had the two-year-old Oommen Chandy government virtually shaking; after five days of intense politicking that involved the top brass of the ruling UDF, things now appear to have cooled down. The fighter that George is, however, insists that Kumar's days as minister are numbered.
"I am not one to tell lies. What I told the media was information I got from Kumar's wife. At the meeting of the UDF yesterday (Thursday), the decision on the future of Kumar has been left to Oommen Chandy. I will wait for him to take the call," said George, currently the government's chief whip in the Kerala assembly.
George, who hails from the rubber plantation area of Poonjar in Kottayam district, began his political career through the students' movement in the early 1970a. He became a legislator for the first time in 1980 and again won when assembly elections were held two years later after the government fell. He lost the 1987 polls and did not contest the 1992 elections.
Since 1996, George has never lost from the Poonjar assembly constituency.
For close to four decades, George had an intense rivalry with his present party chairman and State Finance Minister K.M. Mani. In 2010, the two ended their acrimony, and have since become friends.
Incidentally, from 1980 till 2003, George was a member of the Kerala Congress (Joseph) until he was ousted by his party chairman and now State Water Resources Minister P.J. Joseph.
In 2003 he formed his own party, Kerala Congress (Secular) and contested the 2006 polls as an ally of the Left Democratic Front. Mid-way, he shifted to the UDF camp and in 2010 merged his party with Kerala Congress (Mani).
P.J. Joseph then came under severe attack from George; in 2006, the former had to quit the cabinet of V.S. Achuthanandan in an alleged molestation case on board an aircraft, even though he was later acquitted in that case.
Joseph's successor in the cabinet T.U. Kuruvila also had to quit a year later, after George went hammer and tongs against him, over an alleged land deal in which members of Kuruvila's family were involved.
"Yes, I was very close to Achuthanandan, but midway through his tenure as chief minister (2006-11), he played truant in a deal. I expressed my displeasure. Before parting ways with him, I personally went and told him that I will not be his friend anymore," said George.
Chief Minister Chandy has reportedly been warned to keep George at arm's length, for it's hard to tell when he might "bite".
"Oh, no. Chandy can rest assured that I won't 'bite'. His is a humane nature, and as far as I am concerned, he is one of the best chief ministers in the country," George told IANS.
He added that politicians should never use their authority and power to bulldoze others. Instead, they should work for the welfare of the common man.
"Yes, I keep a close watch on all my fellow-legislators. I get to know if any of them play dirty," said George, who pointed out that his life is an open book.
With Kumar now down, the question is: Who will be George's target next?
(Sanu George can be contacted at email@example.com)