Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, who passed away on Saturday, was a rare CPM leader who maintained a friendly relationship with even his political rivals. No wonder, he is remembered by leaders from opposition parties for his friendly nature and smiling face.
All senior Congress leaders with whom he had engaged in heated political debates mourned Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, remembering him as a committed politician and a friendly person.
KPCC president K Sudhakaran said Balakrishnan’s death was a huge loss to not just CPM but also to political Kerala. “Even when the CPM and the Congress were engaged in a tough fight in Kannur, Balakrishnan never hesitated to smile at us. I still remember that smile,” Sudhakaran told media.
Former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said even though they were on opposing sides politically, Balakrishnan always kept a personal relationship with him. "Kodiyeri, who started with student politics and rose through his career step by step to reach the top post of the CPM, was highly popular," Chandy wrote on Facebook.
Leader of the Opposition V D Satheesan said Kodiyeri, with his kind words and constant smile, won over everyone regardless of political differences. “Kodiyeri Balakrishnan was an out-and-out politician and politics was the breath of his life. His friendship crossed party lines too. He was someone for whom both the diplomacy of practical politics and sternness came easily. His work as an MLA and a leader in the opposition party were notable. Even when he was unwell, he could exude confidence stating he would recover. The death of Kodiyeri is a big loss for CPM, the party in which he was a calm presence. I would like to join the family and fellow politicians on this occasion in their sadness,” he wrote on Facebook.
Former Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala said CPM has lost a powerful leader with the demise of Balakrishnan. "I have had the opportunity to interact with Kodiyeri as early as our days in student and youth politics. His life was dedicated to his party. Kodiyeri, who behaved friendly with everyone with a smile on his face always, had a lot of friends in other parties also. He also performed very well as a minister," Chennithala said.
Young Congress leader and former MLA V T Balram also remembered Balakrishnan as friendly person. "He was able to interact with everyone beyond party lines with in a friendly manner. When I was elected to the assembly in 2011 he was the deputy leader of the opposition. Since then, he had given great support and encouragement to newcomers like us in matters relating to assembly procedures," the KPCC vice president wrote on social media.
BJP state president K Surendran remembered Balakrishnan as the smiling face of CPM. “He could keep a friendly relation with even his political rivals,” he wrote on Facebook.