Veteran Kerala politician R. Balakrishna Pillai is no more

R Balakrishna Pillai

The 87-year-old R. Balakrishna Pillai, one of Kerala's stalwart politician breathed his last at a hospital at Kottarakara on Monday, said family sources.

Pillai was ailing due to old age problems and was a few days back admitted to the hospital following breathing problems.

However he passed away after coming to know that his film star son K.B. Ganesh Kumar won his fifth straight assembly elections from Pathanapuram in Kollam district.

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.

After a brief sojourn in the jail, considering 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 people to resort to terrorism and to wage a war against the Union of India on the lines of '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 last rites would be held at Punalur, near here, later in the day.

Apart from being a top politician, he was also a strongman in the Nair Service Society - the socio cultural organisation of the powerful Hindu Nair community.



(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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