The moment award-winning journalist MV Nikesh Kumar decided to contest the upcoming Kerala assembly polls due to be held on May 16, both the media and his political opponents have gone into overdrive trying to collect all sort of background information which would make him the target of negative reportage.
Who else knows this better than Nikesh himself that publicity whether positive or negative will always ensure that you stay in the public eyeâ€¦Being the son of erstwhile communist stalwart -the late MV Raghavan- itself ensures Nikesh a political brand of his own.
No one can however blame him for trying to reap his late fatherâ€™s glory in the political arena that he seeks to enter. That he is trying to win on a LDF ticket from Azhikode in Kannur is itself fodder for news, given that MVR -as his father was popularly known- was unceremoniously thrown out of CPI(M) in 1986 following acute differences with the state top brass.
At that time, MVR had espoused a Left tie-up with the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) in order to take on the UDF in Kerala. When he continued to stubbornly stick to his stance despite stiff opposition from within the party, he was summarily expelled. The fiery orator then went on to form the Communist Marxist Party (CMP) which allied with the Congress-led UDF and went on to become a three-time MLA as well as a state cabinet minister.
Nikesh himself had been the chairman of Kerala Studentsâ€™ Union (KSU) affiliated to the Indian National Congress during his graduation days. Hence his recent political volte-face, jumping right into the arms of the Left had drawn sharp criticism from various quarters and also from within his own family.
Squabbling siblings over the control of Pappinissery Visha Chikitsa Society and various other institutions which their father founded does not â€¦wellâ€¦seem conducive to Nikeshâ€™s political fortunes.
His elder brother Girish even went to the extent of penning an open letter to him asking Nikesh to now go ahead and denounce their father whom CPI(M) believes is responsible for the November 1994 Koothuparambu firing which killed five DYFI activists.
What makes the contest all the more interesting is Nikesh is all set to contest from Azhikode, the very same constituency from where MVR too had won immediately after his expulsion.
And he is pitted against sitting MLA KM Shaji from the IUML. It seems almost a trick of fate that Nikesh has to contest against a candidate from a party with which his father wanted the Left to ally!
All this political rigmarole unfolds in the backdrop of tax evasion, debt and cheating charges reportedly faced by Nikesh on the professional front.
Almost every day we have someone of the likes of Sashi Kumar or Sebastian Paul voicing their support for Nikesh while VS Achuthanandan gets busy with shooting letters to the state DGP asking for a probe against Nikesh.
Nikesh had begun his journalistic career as a news reporter with Asianet â€“a popular Malayalam news channel- moved on to Indiavision and then went on to launch his very own news channel â€“Reporter TV.
He had earned a formidable repute as a news anchor and his daily show â€˜Newsnightâ€™ on Indiavision and later â€˜Editorâ€™s Hourâ€™ on Reporter TV further cemented his celebrity status on the mini-screen. His weekly interview programme â€˜Close Encounterâ€™ too helped him garner countless fans across Kerala.
Thatâ€™s when Nikesh decided to take a literal â€˜saltyâ€™ dip in the drying wells across the state for which he was mercilessly trolled online.
The latest in the string of controversies to hit Nikesh is that of fraud and forgery by his own channelâ€™s vice chairman Laliya Joseph who alleged that Nikesh had cheated her by failing to follow up on his promise to make her a major share holder in the Indo-Asian News Channel Private Limited which apparently runs Reporter TV.
All this just ensures one thing and that is Nikesh is always in the news or rather that these days he himself is the news in this poll-bound state. What more can a former-journalist-turned-politician want, eh!