The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) expresses its profound grief at the passing away of Comrade Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, an outstanding leader of the Party. He was a member of the Polit Bureau and, until recently, the secretary of the Kerala state committee of the Party. Balakrishnan died on October 1, 2022 in a hospital in Chennai after a prolonged struggle against cancer. He was 68 years old.
Balakrishnan joined the student movement at a very young age and made his mark as a student leader. He was the secretary of the Kerala state SFI from 1973 to 1979, where he made singular contribution to making the SFI a most powerful student organisation in the state. Later he was active in the youth organisation and also served as the state secretary of the Kerala Karshaka Sangham.
Balakrishnan displayed a remarkable ability in Party organisation from the beginning. He was elected to the Kerala state committee in 1988 and to the secretariat in 1995. He was the secretary of the Kannur district committee of the Party, the biggest district unit, from 1990 to 1995. He steered the Party in the district at a time when it was facing attacks from the RSS and foiled efforts to weaken the Party.
Kodiyeri was elected to the Central Committee of the Party at the 17th Congress in 2002 and to the Polit Bureau at the 19th Congress in 2008.
Balakrishnan served as the secretary of the state committee between 2015 and 2022. This was a period during which the Party saw a steady expansion. Kodiyeri was elected to the legislative assembly five times from the Thalassery assembly constituency. He was an effective legislator and also an able administrator, as shown when he was the minister for home and tourism in the LDF government from 2006 to 2011. Kodiyeri was jailed during the emergency for 18 months under the MISA between 1975 and 1977.
Kodiyeri was a staunch fighter against the communal forces. He was in the forefront in fighting the communal forces during the 1971 riots in Thalassery. Subsequently he provided leadership to the struggle against the communal forces whenever they engaged in disruptive activities. Kodiyeri Balakrishnan had an exceptional talent for public speaking and was one of the most effective exponents of the Party’s political and ideological positions. While being firm in his political and ideological convictions, he also had an affable disposition and maintained good relations with leaders across the political spectrum.
Kodiyeri Balakrishnan’s indomitable will, political and organisational abilities and warm attitude to cadres and Party supporters will always be cherished. The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) pays respectful homage to his memory. It conveys its heartfelt condolences to his wife, sons and other members of the family.
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