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He entered politics in his early teens, and had actively participated in students agitations since 1959. He was the Vice-Chairman of Calicut University Union during 1973-74 and was the first Student Syndicate Member of Calicut University during 1975-76. He had actively participated in NCC, Scouts, Bharat Sevak Samaj and Seva Dal. He was arrested and jailed during 1977-78 while protesting the arrest of Smt. Indira Gandhi.
Shri. Sankaran became elected to 11th KLA from Quilandy constituency as INC candidate. From 26.5.2001 to 29.8.2004 he handled the portfolio of Health (till 10.2.2004) and Tourism (from 11.2.2004) in the Ministry headed by Shri. A.K. Antony. Previously in 1998, Shri. Sankaran had also got elected to Lok Sabha. Shri. Sankaran has served at different times, likewise, as the President of various Trade Unions besides being President, Kozhikode District Youth Congress Committee (1978), General Secretary, (1980–91) DCC, Kozhikode and President DCC(I), Kozhikode.
He was also Director Board Member of Public Undertakings such as Central Manufacturing Technology Institute (Bangalore), Command Area Development Authority (CADA-Trichur), Oushadhi (Trichur) and Plantation Corporation of Kerala Limited (Kottayam).
He is presently working as General Secretary of Kerala predesh Congress commitee ( KPCC)
His wife is Smt. Sudha and they have 1 son and 2 daughters.