New Delhi: Plathottathil Chacko George, also known as PC George, has represented the Poonjar Assembly seat in Kerala for 33 years and was arrested by police on Sunday from his home in Erattupetta, Kottayam district, for allegedly making provocative statements towards Muslims.
George was a close confidant of PJ Joseph, having began his career with the Kerala Congress.
He won elections in 1980, 1982, 1996, 2001, 2006, 2011, and 2016 between 1980 and 2022. He was a member of the United Democratic Front (UDF) headed by the Congress until 1991, after which he switched to the Left Democratic Front (LDF) led by the Communist Party of India (Marxist) till 2006.
He was defeated by the LDF in 1987 and 2022. Following the 2011 delimitation, the Assembly sector, which had been a stronghold for Syrian Christians, saw a shift, with a large number of Muslim votes giving the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI), the political branch of the Popular Front of India, an advantage (PFI). It was no secret that the SDPI and George had a cordial relationship that spanned over two decades.
After a disagreement with Joseph in 2006, George founded his own group, Kerala Congress (Secular), and remained in the LDF. His involvement with veteran V S Achuthanandan during the agitations, however, made him a target of his competitors inside the CPM. As a result, George was denied a seat in the LDF or Achuthanandan’s government.
After being rejected by the LDF, George got friends with KM Mani, a veteran Kerala Congress leader who had been his arch-enemy for over three decades. Until Joseph abandoned the LDF to join the UDF, the new friendship was mutually beneficial.
As the UDF came to power, George, who was the Vice-Chairman of the Kerala Congress (M), was denied a ministership. However, from 2011 until 2015, he held the position of Government Chief Whip with cabinet rank, ensuring that the UDF was able to run a government with a razor-thin majority.
George is the father of two sons; Shone George, his eldest son, is a member of the Kottayam district panchayat and married to Parvathy, the daughter of legendary actor Jagathy Sreekumar. After beating three key fronts, he won the division in 2020.
Due to his words, which put the party and the government on the wrong foot, George was forced to resign from both his office and his party. Despite his expectations, he was refused admittance into the LDF owing to his previous relationship with Achuthanandan and his venomous statements against his own troops.
In 2016, he ran as an independent candidate and stunned the three major parties, the CPM, the Congress, and the BJP, by winning his home turf by a record margin of 27,821 votes and 43.65% of all votes cast. He became the first independent candidate in two decades to win a legislative seat without the backing of any political party. George received support from only one political party: the SDPI.
The phone call in which George made nasty statements about Muslims in his district was leaked, and the long-standing friendship came to an end in a single day.
After the 2016 election, George became interested in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). After creating Kerala Jana Paksham in 2017, he became an ally of the NDA, bringing optimism to the BJP, which was eager for a Christian face in the state.
However, George’s good time with the BJP ended soon, as he left the NDA following the 2019 Lok Sabha elections- when BJP state president K Surendran received only 30,990 votes from George’s seat.
He ran as an independent again in 2021, but came in second after being beaten by an LDF candidate. According to him, Muslims, who benefited from his patronage, abandoned him, and he began anti-Muslim tirades. Following a nun’s rape allegation, he became a favourite of the clergy because of his unwavering support for Bishop Franco Mulakkal.
On Friday, he spoke at an event as part of the current Ananthapuri Hindu Maha Sammelan, alleging that tea laced with impotence-causing drops was served at Muslim-run restaurants in order to make people infertile in order to grab control of the country.
The 71-year-old congressman had previously asked non-Muslims to boycott Muslim-owned companies.
On Saturday, police filed a complaint against George, stating that his remarks incited religious hate. On the orders of state police head Anil Kant, they began action against the former legislator on their own initiative.