As Congress in Kerala gets ready for generation change, emerges erudite Kuzhalnaden

Before becoming a Congress MLA after the 2021 Assembly polls, he was often seen participating actively in debates in the dozen TV channels here

Congress legislator Mathew Kuzhalnaden (photo: IANS)
Congress legislator Mathew Kuzhalnaden (photo: IANS)


Amid the void created by the demise of Congress’s two-time Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, and his senior party colleague A.K.Antony retiring from active politics, the emergence of young Turk Mathew Kuzhalnaden is being discussed vividly in Kerala politics, especially in the grand-old party.  

Forty-six-year-old Kuzhalnaden is a Ph.D. holder and a lawyer by profession.

Before becoming a Congress MLA after the 2021 Assembly polls, he was often seen participating actively in debates in the dozen TV channels here. 

Proficient in both English and Malayalam, Kuzhalnaden is rarely spotted in the traditional starched khadar white dhoti and shirt - a typical attire of a Congress politician; instead he dresses up in the most modern style.  

One of the reasons why he is seen as the "new kid on the block" is because of his fearless style and the confidence with which he took on Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

Vijayan was cornered by the Kuzhalnaden in Kerala Assembly recently when the former placed records of his daughter's IT firm Exalogic.

While replying to Kuzhalnaden, a visibly upset CM tried his best to bulldoze him, but being not one to be cowed down quickly, the young politician stood his ground.

"It was this strong defence and well studied approach that Kuzhalnaden took, which made him the new political star on the horizon. Soon people started to follow him and despite him being a first-time legislator, he has made an impressive start, and the Congress needs more Kuzhalnadens," said a media critic who did not wish to be identified.

At the ongoing Assembly session (which ends on Thursday) Kuzhalnaden’s stock rose further when he taunted Vijayan both inside and outside the Assembly, basically relying on researched data about Vijayan’s daughter Veena Vijayan’s IT firm, following an expose that surfaced in the media from an Income Tax body.

Soon, a team of revenue officials reached his residence to measure his ancestral property, and close aides of Vijayan levelled allegations about his business and also questioned the lawyer firm that Kuzhalnaden is a partner of.

But an unfazed Kuzhalnaden sent out a lawyer’s notice against C.N.Mohanan, the Ernakulam district CPI(M) secretary for his baseless allegations about his law firm.

It was at this time, that the election campaign  to the Puthuppally by-election was peaking and here again Kuzhalnaden turned out to be the most sought after campaigner and wherever he spoke crowds swelled to hear him.

Meanwhile, according to top Congress sources in the know of things Kuzhalnaden’s name was a talking point when the top national Congress
leaders deliberated names to  the Congress Working Committee.

For Kuzhalnaden, he can be pretty pleased as State Congress president K.Sudhakaran has already given his full support to take on Vijayan.  

He has promised to come out with more details about the IT firm of Veena Vijayan.

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Published: 14 Sep 2023, 12:24 PM