CPI leader Kanam Rajendran cremated with state honours in Kerala - Hindustan Times
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CPI leader Kanam Rajendran cremated with state honours in Kerala

Dec 10, 2023 03:20 PM IST

Thousands, including party workers and well-wishers of the late CPI strongman, queued up in Kanam all through Saturday night and Sunday morning to pay their tributes

Slogans of ‘Priya saghave Kaname’ (dear comrade, Kanam) and ‘Jeevikkunnu Njangalilude’ (you will live through us) rang in the air as the mortal remains of Communist Party of India (CPI) state secretary Kanam Rajendran was consigned to the flames in his native village of Kanam in Kottayam district of Kerala on Sunday.

Rajendran, 73, passed away at a private hospital in Kochi following a cardiac arrest on Friday (PTI- Photo)
Rajendran, 73, passed away at a private hospital in Kochi following a cardiac arrest on Friday (PTI- Photo)

The funeral of Rajendran, a two-time MLA and three-time state secretary of the CPI, was given state honours with chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan, CPI national secretary D Raja, members of the state cabinet and top leaders of the Left Democratic Front (LDF) in attendance.

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Television visuals showed CPI leaders and ministers K Rajan and P Prasad breaking down into tears as Rajendran’s son lighted the funeral pyre under a tamarind tree at his ancestral home.

Thousands, including party workers and well-wishers of the late CPI strongman, queued up in Kanam all through Saturday night and Sunday morning to pay their tributes.

Rajendran, 73, passed away at a private hospital in Kochi following a cardiac arrest on Friday. He was undergoing treatment at the hospital for an unhealed wound on his right leg which was compounded by his diabetic condition. His right foot was also amputated as part of treatment.

Rajendran, who had taken a three-month leave of absence from the party on account of his health condition, had told party leaders that he would return to work soon. His sudden death has left CPI leaders and workers heartbroken.

The CPI leader’s body was airlifted from Kochi to Thiruvananthapuram on Saturday morning, where it was kept at his residence and the CPI state office for people to pay tributes. Governor Arif Mohammed Khan and top leaders of the LDF and United Democratic Front were among those who paid tributes.

On Saturday evening, his body was brought by road to Kottayam with hundreds of people lining up on both sides of the roads for a last glimpse of the Communist leader.

CM Pinarayi Vijayan, condoling the demise of Rajendran, said on Friday, “Through his death, we have lost one of the strong pillars of the Left unity in Kerala. His contributions are unparalleled in strengthening the Communist movement and the unity among workers, protecting democratic institutions and preserving secular values.”

A member of the central secretariat of the CPI, Rajendran remained a powerful figure within the ruling LDF and often crossed swords with the CPM leadership on various issues. As the leader of the second-biggest party in the coalition, he was instrumental in persuading the CPM to take a strong stand, especially on subjects like corruption and environmental protection.

One of the memorable instances was when Rajendran asked the ministers of his party in 2017 to stay away from a cabinet meeting to send the message that the CPI was not in favour of the then Nationalist Congress Party minister and corruption-accused Thomas Chandy continuing in office. Ultimately, Rajendran had his way and Chandy resigned from the cabinet.

Rajendran made his way into state politics through the All India Youth Federation, the youth wing of the CPI, and became its state secretary in 1969 at the age of 19. At 26, he was a member of the CPI’s state secretariat and headed the party’s Kottayam district unit twice. He was elected to the Assembly from Vazhoor twice in 1982 and 1987. Though he contested three more times, he was unsuccessful.

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