Kannur: The body of senior CPM leader and former Kerala home minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan was consigned to flames at Payyambalam beach on Monday afternoon.
Witnessed by thousands of supporters and leaders including Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechuri, the pyre was jointly lit by Kodiyeri Balakrishnan's sons Binoy and Bineesh.
The funeral procession carrying his mortal remains reached Payyambalam beach from Azhikodan Mandiram. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, CPM State Secretary M V Govindan and other CPM leaders accompanied the procession on foot.
His final resting place will be between the tombstones of former chief minister EK Nayanar and CPM stalwart Chadayan Govindan.
His funeral was held with full state honours, including gun salute.
Balakrishnan, who was suffering from cancer, passed away in Chennai on Saturday. He was 68.
Thousands pay homage
A public viewing was arranged at Azhikodan Mandiram, the CPM district committee office, ahead of the cremation.
His body was brought to his home district Kannur in an air ambulance on Sunday. A steady stream of mourners have been making their way to Kodiyeri's residence since Sunday evening.
At 11 am, the body was shifted to the CPM district committee office.
Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan paid homage to the CPM stalwart at the CPM headquarters on Monday.
Top CPM leaders Sitaram Yechury and Prakash Karat arrived from Delhi to pay their respects to the late leader. Leader of Opposition VD Satheesan also paid tribute to Balakrishnan.
Ministers and political leaders, including Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, had reached the Thalassery Town Hall on Sunday to pay their last respects.
Kodiyeri's body was draped with the party's red flag. Kerala Police also performed the customary gun salute to honour the former minister.
The town of Thalassery, Dharmadam, other Kannur localities and Mahi will observe a shutdown (hartal) on Monday as a mark of respect.
A tall leader
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 stepped down later.
Kodiyeri, as he was known after his birthplace, 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.