Kodiyeri Balakrishnan | Photo: Akhil ES
Thiruvananthapuram: CPM senior leader and former Kerala Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, known for his organisational calibre and Parliamentary expertise, died at Apollo Hospital in Chennai on Saturday, party leaders said. He was 70.
Cutting across party politics, people from various walks of life condoled the death of Balakrishnan.
Governor Arif Mohammed Khan, in his message, said his calm, friendly nature and unwavering commitment to ensuring people's welfare endeared him to everyone.
The contributions of Balakrishnan as Minister and as a leader, who earned mass support through his involvement in social causes, would be long remembered, he said.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said he was close to Balakrishnan since his student days and his role in transforming the party into the powerful movement is of historical importance.
"Comrade has always took a tough stand against party enemies and dealt with the general issues in a mature and appreciable manner. Balakrishnan ensured not to deviate from his ideological position even while engaging in a friendly manner with everyone," he said adding that his intervention in modernising the police force wad commendable.
Earlier in the day, Vijayan postponed his trip to Europe, which was scheduled from Sunday, due to Balakrishnan's critical health condition.
While BJP State chief K Surendran remembered Balakrishnan a "smiling face of CPM" and as person who could maintain a friendship even with his political opponents,
Leader of Opposition in the State Assembly VD Satheesan said the demise of the Left leader was an irreparable loss to Kerala politics.
Congress veteran Ramesh Chennithala said that the party has lost one of its staunch leaders with the demise of Kodiyeri. Chennithala recollected his relationship with the CPM leader which began while working for student’s political unions. “His enduring smile and polite disposition bestowed him friends beyond the party circles,” said Chennithala.
Kodiyeri was an exemplar for both leaders and political workers, said D Raja. Kodiyeri’s life was dedicated to the unity of CPM and the progress of the party in the state, he added.
Union Minister V Muraleedharan noted that the death of Kodiyeri is a huge loss for Kerala political circle. Though he was an uncompromising CPM leader, he approached everything with a smiling face. He was an irreplaceable leader of pragmatic politics, added Muraleedharan.
Minister K Radhakrishnan shared about his close relationship with Balakrishnan. He was adept in resolving any issues with great composure. Radhakrishnan had served as speaker when Kodiyeri was the home minister.
MA Yusuff Ali mentioned Kodiyeri as the selfless servant of Kerala political realm. His works as an Assembly member, opposition leader, minister and party secretary were noteworthy. Yusuff Ali recalled the brotherhood he shared with the lost leader.
Curtain has fallen on a life which was wholly devoted for the party, said Minister MB Rajesh. Kodiyeri was an irreplaceable organiser, and an eminent leader, who led the party with the right political stance even at several dire situations. He could effectively tackle his political opponents both inside and outside the assembly, said MB Rajesh.
A considerable vacuum has been created by the demise of Kodiyeri in Kerala politics, opined Minister Roshy Augustine. Even while working in opposing fronts, the minister shared a warm relationship with Kodiyeri. Roshy said that he was fortunate enough to experience the care of the leader.
Balakrishnan supported the party during several challenging times. He was a complete communist till his last breath, said Minister Chinchu Rani.
(with inputs from PTI)