In his early years itself, he was associated with V.T. Bhattathiripad, M.B. Bhattathiripad and many others to fight casteism and reactionary conservatism which existed in the Namboodiri community. He became one of the office bearers of Valluvanadu Yogaskshema Sabha, an organisation of progressive Namboodiri youth. During his college days, he was deeply associated with the Indian National Congress and Indian Independence Struggle. In 1934, he joined the Congress Socialist Party, a socialist wing within Indian National Congress. Later he was elected as the Kerala State Congress secretary. His commitment to socialist ideals and compassion towards the downtrodden working class made him join the ranks of the Communists, for which he had to go in hiding for many years.
India achieved its independence in 1947 and the state of Kerala was formed in 1956. In 1957, EMS led the Communists to victory in the first popular election. Soon he introduced the revolutionary Land Reform Ordinance and Education Bill, which caused the dismissal of his government by the central government using the controversial article 356 of the Indian Constitution. However, this had changed the outlook of Kerala society dramatically and laid the foundation for what has become known as the Kerala Model. Even during the later part of his life, he influenced Kerala society by his visions on decentralization of power and resources (People's Plan) and the Kerala Literacy Movement.