Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, who passed away on Saturday night at Appolo Hospital in Chennai, was always the smiling face of the Kerala CPI-M. He was a rare leader who maintained a friendly relationship with even his political rivals.
Kodiyeri Balakrishnan was easy to approach and to talk to, friendly and cordial, warm and polite. These affable characteristics of his personality earned him admirers across political affiliations.
Popularly known as Kodiyeri, Balakrishnan steered the CPI-M in Kerala for three consecutive terms as state secretary. He was also a member of the CPI-M polit-bureau. As party state secretary, Kodiyeri played a key role in strengthening the party network across the state. He was instrumental in ensuring the victory of the LDF in the two Assembly elections in 2016 and 2021.
An affable leader, he was the one who always handled the dissenting voices and factional issues that once plagued the left party. At the peak of the factional feud between the groups of Achuthanandan and Pinarayi Vijayan, Kodiyeri functioned as the link between them. The Pinarayi-VS feud did not affect Kodiyeri, who maintained a cordial relationship with both leaders.
During Pinarayi Vijayan as CM, Kodiyeri acted as the bridge between the party and the government. He succeeded in ensuring that the party and the government always remained on the same track.
A composed leader, he was a very effective crisis manager too. The party had used Kodiyeri’s mediating skills and analytical power to tide over disputes and difficult situations. His affable nature and diplomatic skills were the strength which elevated Kodiyeri as one of the tallest politicians in Kerala.
With Kodiyeri’s death, CPI-M has lost a jovial leader who made deft political moves. As CPI-M in Kerala loses one of its staunch leaders now, there will be none to occupy the vacuum left behind by Kodiyeri Balakrishnan.
CPI-M former Kerala secretary and Politburo member Kodiyeri Balakrishnan passed away on Saturday at Chennai Apollo hospital at the age of 69. A five-time MLA, he has also served as the State Home Minister from 2006 to 2011. A three-time CPI-M state secretary, he served as state secretary till the last week of August this year.
Kodiyeri was undergoing treatment at Apollo Hospital Chennai for the past one month. Doctors who treated him at Apollo Hospital in Chennai attributed the cause of his death to complications arising from pancreatic cancer. He was diagnosed with cancer in 2019 during a routine diabetic check. Later, he had undergone treatment at Anderson Cancer Centre in Houston, U.S., for advanced treatment.
Mourning Kodiyeri’s death, chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said, “He wasn’t brother-like, he was my brother. We walked the same path, together.”
Kodiyeri’s mortal remains were brought to Thalassery from Chennai on Sunday. His mortal remains reached Kannur airport at 1.15 p.m, from there the body was taken to Thalassery town hall in an ambulance . Thousands of people gathered on the premises of the town hall to pay last respects to the departed leader.
His cremation will be held with full state honours at Payyambalam on Monday 3 pm.