Kannur: Thousands of people streamed to the Thalassery Town Hall to pay homage to CPM leader and former home minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan whose mortal remains were brought to his home district Kannur in an air ambulance on Sunday.
Ministers and political leaders, including Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, reached the Town Hall to pay their last respects. The CM and others draped Kodiyer's body with the party red flag as a mark of respect. The Kerala Police also performed the customary gun salute to honour the former minister.
Balakrishnan, who was suffering from cancer, passed away in Chennai on Saturday after multi-organ dysfunction. He was 68.
Party colleagues including Pinarayi Vijayan and CPM Kannur district committee secretary MV Jayarajan, among others, received the body at the airport.
The procession taking the body stopped at 14 places along the way for the public to pay their respects.
The body will be kept at the Town Hall for the public to pay respects till Sunday night.
It will be brought to his house in Kodiyeri at 10 am on Monday.
An hour-long public viewing is also arranged at Azhikodan Mandiram, the CPM district committee office.
The cremation will take place at 3 pm on Payyambalam Beach on Monday, party leaders said.
A hartal will be observed in Thalassery, Dharmadam, other Kannur mandals and Mahi on the day as a mark of respect.
One of Kerala's senior-most politicians, Kodiyeri was a member of the CPM politburo, the top decision-making body of the party.
Kodiyeri held the Home and Tourism portfolio in the VS Achuthanandan-led cabinet from 2006 to 2011.
He was also the Deputy Opposition Leader in the State Assembly during 2001-04 and 2011-16.
The CPM party State conference in Kochi earlier this year elected him as the party's State Secretary for the third consecutive term. However, due to ill health, he handed over the responsibility to MV Govindan.
Kodiyeri represented Thalassery in the State Assembly five times - 1982, 1987, 2001, 2006, and 2011.
Kodiyeri is survived by his wife SR Vinodini and two sons, Benoy and Bineesh.