Kerala: CPI(M) Leader Kodiyeri Balakrishnan Cremated With Full State Honours
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, polit bureau member M A Baby, senior leader S Ramachandran Pillai, LDF convener E.P. Jayarajan and CPI(M) Kannur district committee secretary M. V. Jayarajan placed the red flag on mortal remains of Kodiyeri Balakrishnan.
Kodiyeri Balakrishnan (69), a polit bureau member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)] and former home minister of Kerala, was laid to rest at Payyambalam Beach in Kannur district. Kodiyeri, as he is known in the party circles, breathed his last in Chennai on October 1 after a prolonged fight with cancer.
He was laid to rest with full state honours in the presence of senior party leaders, following which a condolence meeting was held. Thousands thronged the venue to catch a glimpse of the departed leader.
Earlier, his mortal remains were placed in Thalassery town hall, his residence and CPI(M) Kannur district committee office for the public to pay last respects. A long queue was witnessed in both places as thousands of party cadres, members of civil society, the common public and leaders of all political parties paid respect to the departed leader.
The CPI(M) polit bureau, the Kerala state unit and several leaders, including general secretary Sitaram Yechury, Pinarayi Vijayan, Mohammed Salim and Manik Sarkar, paid rich tributes to the leader known for both his public speaking and organisational skills.
Kodiyeri was elected as secretary of the Kerala state committee thrice in 2015, 2018 and 2022. He was elected to the legislative assembly five times, in 1982,1987,2001, 2006 and 2011. He functioned as the home minister in VS Achuthanandan ministry from 2006-11.
CREMATED WITH STATE HONOURS
Kodiyeri was laid to rest at the Payyambalam beach in Kannur district, where veteran party leaders Chadayan Govindan and former chief minister E K Nayanar were cremated.
General Secretary Sitaram Yechury and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, along with other party leaders and red volunteers, carried the mortal remains of Kodiyeri to the burial ground. His sons, Bineesh and Binoy, lit the pyre in the presence of his spouse Vinodhini and other party leaders.
Sitaram Yechury, general secretary of CPI(M) paid respect to Kodiyeri Balakrishnan at Azhikodan Smaraka Mandiram, the Kannur district committee office.
The last journey to the Payyambalam beach began post 2 pm, with hundreds of red volunteers guarding the vehicle carrying the mortal remains of Kodiyeri, greeted by during the complete journey.
The body was flown to Kannur from Chennai by air ambulance on October 1. Tamil Nadu chief minister M K Stalin, Governor R N Ravi, K Balakrishnan, and CPI(M) Tamil Nadu state secretary paid their respects.
Tamil Nadu chief minister M K Stalin paid his respect at Apollo Hospital, Chennai
TRIBUTES POUR IN
The Malayalam media, which generally leans against the Left, called him the ‘Smiling Face of CPI(M)’,as Kodiyeri maintained good relationships cutting across party lines.
“His demeanour and his approach of amenability earned him a lot of affection from a wide cross-section of the people. He was very firm in upholding the secular principles of our country and fought against all expressions of religious bigotry in a determined manner, and shaped the politics in Kerala for the past few decades to create a society that has achieved the highest level of HDIs not only in the country but across the developed countries in Europe,” Yechury said.
Vijayan paid homage to his comrade and friend for more than five decades. Both of them were lodged together in Kannur prison after the emergency was declared. Pinarayi was a first-time MLA, and Kodiyeri was the state secretary of SFI.
The camaraderie lasted for years. Both rose in the party ranks, with Kodiyeri succeeding Pinarayi as the state secretary in 2015. In a detailed homage, he expressed shock at losing a comrade and a long-time friend.
“The demise of my dear comrade and friend Kodiyeri Balakrishnan leaves me devastated. He was an astute leader who dedicated his entire life to building the communist movement and uplifting the downtrodden. He will continue to inspire us in our struggles. Red Salute, Comrade,” wrote Pinarayi on his Twitter.
Mohammed Salim, secretary of the West Bengal unit, said, “He led the party in Kerala during turbulent times and brought back the party to power again in the last Assembly elections. He is politically and strategically sharp. Kodiyeri will always live with us.”
A LEADER FROM THE GRASSROOTS
Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, born in 1953 in the erstwhile Malabar district of Madras state (now Kannur district), rose from the grassroots to occupy the position of the polit bureau of the party. After being attracted to the Communist ideology, he joined the student movement while at school. His organisational skills helped in becoming the state secretary of the Students Federation of India (SFI) at the age of 20.
He functioned as a leader of the youth movement, followed by a stint as state treasurer of the Kerala Karshaka Sangham (state unit of the All India Kisan Sabha).
Kodiyeri was first elected to the Assembly at the age of 29. He was elected to the polit bureau in 2008.
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