A day after the revised budget was presented by new Finance Minister K.N. Balagopal on Friday, which has kept allocation to build a monument at the cost of Rs 20 lakh for late veteran politician, R. Balakrishna Pillai, it invited the maximum wrath on the social media.
Pillai, who passed away last month, till his party- Kerala Congress (B) became an ‘ally’ of the CPI-M led Left in the 2016 assembly polls, was one of the most targeted political personality and was even attacked personally, giving him the tag of being the most corrupt politician.
A media critic on condition of anonymity said all this can be done only by the CPI-M, as it has come to a stage where if they exonerate anyone, such people’s past is forgotten.
“None will forget what all the CPI-M leaders said about Pillai, when he was a stalwart in the UDF. When he and his actor turned legislator son – K.B. Ganesh Kumar expressed his desire to move towards the Left, all their sins were washed away. Recently, the same thing happened to Jose K. Mani (son of veteran K.M. Mani- whose party was also hugely targeted by the CPI-M) who is now the third biggest ally of the second Pinarayi Vijayan government. All what the Left said about ‘corrupt Mani’ is no longer mentioned,” said the critic and added that it’s the least surprising of the monument for Pillai.
Pillai’s glorious political career began in 1960, when he won his first assembly election from Pathanapuram as a Congress candidate and then he had no reason to look back till 2006, when he lost from his home base at Kottarakara and after that he has stayed away from electoral politics.
In 1964 he was one of the founders of the Kerala Congress party, which over the years has gone numerous splits and after 1977, he has been heading his own party- Kerala Congress (B) and has been a State Minister on numerous occasions under both the Left and the Congress led UDF.
In his long career when he won eight times to the Kerala Assembly and once to the Lok Sabha, he also wrote into record books for other reasons which included a jail term for a year in 2011, after he was indicted in a corruption case for award of a contract for a power project.
Incidentally, the case of Pillai was vigorously pursued by veteran CPI-M leader V.S. Achuthanandan.
After a brief sojourn in the jail, taking his health condition he was given amnesty by the then Oommen Chandy government.
In 1985 while being a State Minister in the cabinet of K. Karunakaran, he had to quit after a petition surfaced that he made a public speech asking the people to resort to terrorism and to wage a war against the Union of India on the ‘Punjab model’, to achieve their objectives.
Then came another trouble for him when Oommen Chandy replaced A.K. Antony in 2004 as Chief Minister, Pillai was dropped as a Minister, which led to his anger against Chandy.
After his defeat in 2006 assembly polls, he did not stand for any more elections and in 2015 he and his party left the Congress led UDF and joined the CPI-M led LDF.
And when the Pinarayi Vijayan government assumed office in 2016, he was given a Cabinet status post.
The budget apart from allocating money for Pillai, has set aside for a similar one for another former CPI-M veteran- K.R. Gowri, who quit the party in the mid nineties and joined the Congress led UDF as an ally and in two terms was a State Minister also, when she was with the UDF.
Gowri also passed away last month.