Kodiyeri cut his teeth in politics early, Thalassery milieu aided swift rise

Kodiyeri Balakrishnan
Kodiyeri Balakrishnan. File photo: Manorama

Kannur: The life of late CPM stalwart Kodiyeri Balakrishnan was intrinsically linked to Thalassery, the town in north Kerala, which was witness to significant epochs in the national freedom movement, the rise of the Communist party and social reform movements.

Balakrishnan rose to leadership positions at a very young age in the Left party.

He started his life as a communist leader being the branch secretary with the Eengayilppeedika branch of the CPM. While still an undergraduate student, he became the local committee secretary of the party.

Even as he was serving as the LC secretary, he became the State Secretary for the SFI at the age of 20. At 36, the party entrusted Kodiyeri with the charge of Kannur district. No other CPM district secretary in Kerala so far has been as young as Kodiyeri was.

The Kannur district secretary position was entrusted to Kodiyeri, after the interim leadership of current Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and T Govindan.

At the age of 54, Kodiyeri Balakrishnan entered the party’s Polit Bureau too.

Balakrishnan, who equally succeeded in both political agitations and the parliamentary arena continuously, was elected to the Kerala state legislature four times.

Though he started out as the branch and the local secretary, he faced the real political heat while he served as the District Secretary.

Whichever post he served in the party, Thalassery has always stood with him. He remained as the front line fighter for anything from development, politics, culture or entertainment arenas. Kodiyeri’s presence was always there; be it on the protest front or the parliamentary front of the party.

He had represented Thalassery in the Assembly as a legislator for almost a quarter century in two phases – in 1982, 1987, 2001, 2006, and 2011.

When he first contested the Assembly elections, he was serving as the district president for the DYFI, the youth wing of the party.

Kodiyeri Balakrishnan began his political agitations by organizing a students’ demonstration violating and defying the Emergency decree. Thalassery's Chirakkara was chosen for this protest demonstration then.

After being the Kannur district secretary, he became a member of the State secretariat in 1995, after which he changed his base to Thiruvananthapuram.

Kodiyeri had suffered from physical assaults during a political conflict with the RSS, while he was a school student.

Balakrishnan, who came out after appearing for the SSLC examination, was attacked by the RSS workers.

He had to be in the hospital for treatment for a long time thereafter.

Kodiyeri Balakrishnan passed away in Chennai on Saturday.

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