Former Speaker of the Kerala Legislative Assembly Varkala Radhakrishnan is no more.
The 84-year-old veteran communist leader and parliamentarian died at the government medical college hospital here on Monday after battling for life ever since he met with a road accident on April 22.
Mr. Radhakrishnan, who was Speaker from 1987 to 1991, has all along been a stickler to Constitutional norms. A lawyer by profession, Mr. Radhakrishnan came to the limelight as private secretary to E.M.S. Namboodiripad when he became the Chief Minister of Kerala for the second time in 1967.
He was member of the Assembly for four terms spanning the years from 1980 to 1996 and was elected to the Lok Sabha three times in 1998, 1999 and 2004 and had served on the panel of chairmen of the House from 2004 to 2009 besides being member of several parliamentary consultative committees and standing committees.
Active in public life
Even after leaving parliamentary politics, he was active in public life till he was knocked down by a vehicle very close to his house in the capital while he was on his usual morning walk. His condition turned critical by late Sunday and the end came on Monday morning.
The body was kept at the Assembly, VJT Hall, the office of the Thiruvananthapuram Bar Association and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) district committee office, where Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan, Speaker K. Radhakrishnan, Leader of the Opposition Oommen Chandy, CPI(M) State secretary Pinarayi Vijayan, leaders of various parties and people from diverse walks of life paid their last respects to him.
The body was later taken to his ancestral home at Varkala and cremated late in the evening.
Condoling the veteran leader's death, CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat recalled that Mr. Radhakrishnan was one who worked hard to build the working class movement in Kerala and who played a stellar role as a parliamentarian. Union Defence Minister A.K. Antony described Mr. Radhakrishnan as a scholar in Constitutional matters who lived unstained by corruption.
In his condolence message, Governor R.S. Gavai said Mr. Radhakrishnan was a stalwart among parliamentarians who was always in the forefront of people's struggles for social justice. Mr. Gavai recalled his close acquaintance with him as a seasoned and dedicated member of the Lok Sabha and said Mr. Radhakrishnan's contributions as a competent and committed parliamentarian would be long remembered.
The Chief Minister, in his condolence message, said Mr. Radhakrishnan was a staunch champion of democratic norms who used the offices he held to fight for the rights of the masses. In his message, the Speaker said that in Mr. Radhakrishnan's death the country had lost an eminent parliamentarian. The Leader of the Opposition recalled that Mr. Radhakrishnan's scholarship in Constitutional matters and parliamentary procedures had won him wide acclaim across the country.