Chennai: Veteran Parliamentarian and freedom fighter Era Sezhiyan passed away at Vellore in Tamil Nadu due to brief illness, today. He was 95.
Born on April 28, 1923 at Thirukkannapuram in Thanjavur district of Madras Province (present Tamil Nadu), Era Sezhiyan retired from active party politics in 2001 but continued to write articles in leading English and Tamil dailies and journals on matter of public importance.
Presently an honorary professor at the Vellore Institute of Technology (VIT), he was one of the most active Parliamentarians.
Era Sezhiyan was a Gold Medalist in 1939 SSLC and topped the 1944 B.Sc Hons. (Mathematics) graduates of Annamalai University.
After graduation, Sezhiyan and his elder brother Nedunzhiyan were attracted towards the leader C. N. Annadurai (affectionately called “Anna”), who founded the political party DMK in 1949, and became a closely associated and trusted to him.
He wrote about the ancient culture and classical languages of Dravidian group in the South in the Dravidanadu edited by Anna and Manram of Nedunchezhiyan.
Anna made Sezhiyan as a candidate in the 1962 General Election in the Perambalur Constituency of Trichy district and got him elected to the House of the People (Lok Sabha) where he soon distinguished himself as an authority of Parliamentary Procedures and Constitutional Conventions.
A keen observer of TN politics for close to seven decades, he became a Lok Sabha member before the age of 40.
His subtle objections often embarrassed the treasury benches and scuttled several demands and budgets.
On a constitutional issue, he won his case in 1974 in Madras High Court against the Union Government.
As Chairman of Public Accounts Committee (1971-73), he presented a record number of 96 reports to Parliament.
Jaiprakash Narayan, popularly referred to as JP or Lok Nayak, regarded Sezhiyan as a finest, if not, the best Parliamentarian of the times and included him in the National Coordination Committee, which formed the base of Jan Morcha along with senior leaders in the opposition against the undemocratic 1975-77 Emergency.
Evading the arrest warrant of the Delhi police, Sezhiyan became the focal point of the Opposition.
JP nominated him as a Convener of National Committee for Review of the Constitution and of People’s Union for Civil Liberties.
In 1978, at the request of Prime Minister of Moraji Desai, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Dr. MGR supported with the strength of the AIADMK in the Assembly to sent Sezhiyan to the Council of the States (Rajya Sabha).
Again he was noted for his Parliamentary work and was the leader of the Janata Party for some time.
His recent books “Shah Commission Report, Lost and Regained” and “Parliament for The People” received wide welcome from the leaders of all parties and the public.
In his message in June 2008, Former President R. Venkataraman stated that Era Sezhiyan was a role model for young Members of Parliament.