The mortal remains of CPI(M) stalwart Kodiyeri Balakrishnan were consigned to flames on Monday, October 3 at Payyambalam beach in Kannur in the presence of tens of thousands of party workers and senior leaders, who arrived to bid farewell to their dearest comrade. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Marxist party General Secretary Sitaram Yechury, along with other leaders carried the body of Balakrishnan to the pyre readied at Payyambalam beach. Pinarayi broke down while remembering his comrade and veteran Left leader Balakrishnan before the thousands who came to bid an emotional farewell this evening.
Balakrishnan, who was the former Home and Tourism minister of Kerala, was cremated with full state honours. His two sons, Binoy and Bineesh, lit the pyre while slogans hailing the departed leader reverberated across the beach. Pinarayi, along with party state secretary M V Govindan and leaders M A Baby, A Vijayaraghavan, M V Jayarajan, and the state ministers, led the over 3-km long procession of party workers.
Addressing the gathering, Yechury said Balakrishnan battled all deviations and "unhesitatingly adhered to revolutionary principlesâ€ť. On behalf of the Congress party, MLA Sunny Joseph said he and his party share the grief and sorrow along with the CPI(M) party and the family of Balakrishnan.
Pinarayi, on the verge of tears, said the demise of Kodiyeri was a huge loss and gave his word to the party workers that they would work together to fill the gap. He thanked everyone, including the media, for sharing the party's sorrow.
"Balakrishnan is a prominent leader of the Left party. Our party comrades, our well-wishers, those who love the party, people from all walks of life today rushed to see comrade Balakrishnan for one last time. It was emotional...This is a great loss. This is not a gap which we can fill easily. We give you all our word, this is a huge loss, no doubt but we will work together and to fill that gap. As I said before... I conclude...," teary-eyed Vijayan concluded his speech.
Yechury deeply mourned the demise of Balakrishnan and said he guided the party through its most difficult times. The party general secretary said the record of re-winning an election after half a century of being the incumbent government goes to a large extent to the manner in which the party was organised under Balakrishnan's leadership.
"We will carry forward the principles he fought for, the ideology he fought for, the cause of the people he fought for... it will be the fittest homage to comrade Kodiyeri Balakrishnan,... red salute," CPI(M) Tamil Nadu leader and politburo member G Ramakrishnan said.
In the public meeting, BJP leader C K Padmanabhan said Balakrishnan was a very trustful person whom anyone could approach due to his friendly and gentle behaviour. He remembered Balakrishnan's efforts to mitigate many serious issues in the state.
NCP leader and minister A K Saseendran remembered Balakrishnan as a bridge between the various fronts of the ruling alliance. IUML leader Abdu Rahiman Kallayi, representatives of other political parties in the state also paid their respects.
Pinarayi's wife Kamala was seen holding tight Vinodhini, the widow of the Left leader, throughout the funeral ceremony. Binoy and Bineesh broke down after lighting the pyre before emotionally charged party workers at the Payyambalam beach.
The senior Left leader passed away at a private hospital in Chennai on October 1 after battling cancer. He was 70. Tens of thousands accompanied the body of Balakrishnan to Payyambalam beach, around 3 km from the party district committee office, where it was kept for the public to pay homage.
Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan, senior Congress leaders including KPCC president K Sudhakaran, Leader of Opposition V D Satheesan, K Muraleedharan, Mullappally Ramachandran, various IUML leaders had earlier in the day paid respects to Balakrishnan.