Ernakulam: Kerala Food and Civil Supplies Minister T M Jacob (63) died in Kochi on Sunday. He was undergoing treatment in a private hospital here. His condition turned critical by Sunday evening and the end came at 10.30 p.m. Jacob is hailed as one of the best parliamentarians Kerala has ever produced.
He was representing Piravom constituency. He won the 2011 election with a slender margin of 157 votes, was the lone representative of his party Kerala Congress (Jacob) in the Assembly. Born on September 16, 1950, as the son of T.S. Mathew and Annamma, Jacob entered politics during his student days. In 1971, he was elected the general secretary of Kerala Students Congress. He was the president of KSC from 1972 to 75. He was first elected to the Assembly from Piravom in 1977 and had remained a member till 2006, representing Piravom and Kothamangalam. He suffered a defeat from CPM's M.J. Jacob in the 2006 election but came back to the Assembly by defeating the same candidate in this year's poll.
Jacob, who had served the state as a minister in four governments, was rated as one of the best ministers. His tenure as education minister during the K. Karunakaran government, between 1982 and 87 was eventful. During this term, he introduced the concept of Pre-degree board with an aim to delink 11th and 12th standard from colleges. Steps such as privatization of technical education were also initiated by Jacob during this period. He had also served in the ministries led by K. Karunakaran and A.K. Antony between 1991 and 1996 and in the A.K. Antony ministries of 2001. Apart from education, he had handled Water Resources and Food and Civil Supplies portfolios.
Jacob made a political gamble in 2005 by dissolving his party and merging with the Democratic Indira Congress floated by K. Karunakaran. Later, he quit the DIC and gave a rebirth to Kerala Congress (Jacob). Jacob was the mastermind of Oommen Chandy government's flagship project for distributing rice at Re 1/kg for BPL families.
He is survived by wife Annie Mathew, son Anoop and daughter Ambili.