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Susheela was a politician. She was born to the famous Ezhava family, Cheerappan Chira in Muhamma, known for their kalari or school of martial arts. She was educated at Alappuzha and Trivandrum. She joined the Communist Party and married A. K. Gopalan, a party leader who she met during his years in hiding. He served five successive terms in Parliament for the CPI(M) since 1947 till his death in 1977. She won the Assembly elections from Mararikulam constituency in the district of Alappuzha in 1965 and served subsequently as Minister for Industries in the Kerala government. She was the President of the Kerala Coir Workers centre since its inception in 1971 till her death. She was the founder President of the All India Democratic Women’s Association. In 1996, she was dumped as chief ministerial candidate by the CPI(M) and the nomination went instead to E.K. Nayanar. She became Minister for Industries and Social Welfare in Nayanar’s cabinet. She was a member of the CPI(M) State secretariat till her death. She held a number of positions in the LDF.
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