For the past two days, there is only one destination in Kerala and that is Kannur to say a final goodbye to one of the CPI-M’s hugely popular leader, Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, who passed away in Chennai while undergoing treatment for cancer.
The who’s who in Kerala cutting across all sections of the society, including the political leaders, business icons, film stars, socio-cultural personalities, sports personalities, police officials, bureaucrats and even retired people and not to mention the common man are trooping in the city.
On Sunday afternoon the body arrived in Kannur on a special air ambulance and since then thousands of people have paid their last respects at the Town Hall in Thalassery, his hometown and then the body was taken to his house, nearby.
The sight of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan along with his family and his cabinet colleagues sitting in the hall for close to seven hours, and his statement that Kodiyeri was not like a brother, but a brother revealed all.
The arrival of another hugely popular strongman from Kannur — State Congress president K. Sudhakaran also paid his last respects and spent time with his arch political rivals, including Vijayan and other top CPI-M leaders from Kannur.
Legislator K.K. Rema, the wife of slain former CPI-M firebrand leader, whom Vijayan referred to as a ‘renegade’ also came to pay her last respects.
On Monday morning Vijayan and his family came to Kodiyeri’s house and consoled his wife, Vinodhini.
At 10 a.m. the body was being taken to the Kannur district CPI-M office where it will be kept till 3 p.m. and then it will be taken to the final destination at the Payyambalam beach where he will be laid to rest along other departed legends of the party like E.K. Nayanar, Chadayan Govindan and others.
Kodiyeri, 68, was a five-time legislator and was the state home minister from 2006 to 2011, during which he became a politburo member of the party. From 2015 he was the state secretary of the CPI-M, a post he held till the last week of August, when he quit and was taken to Chennai for expert treatment, but he breathed his last on Saturday night.