M. Sukumara Pillai, who died in Thiruvananthapuram on Thursday, had left an indelible mark in the State’s socio-political and trade union sectors.

As a trade union leader, he was active in the Kerala Electricity Workers Federation for over five decades.

His was a life spent on ideological struggles for the cause of the working class.

An excellent organiser, orator, thinker, and a Communist with concern for the common man, Mr. Pillai had been a life-long functionary of the Kerala Electricity Workers Federation affiliated to the All-India Trade Union Congress (AITUC).

Twice the chairman of Kerafed, Mr. Pillai had successfully steered the loss-making public sector unit to a profit-making organisation. For the first time, Kerafed declared bonus for its employees during Mr Pillai’s second stint as chairman in 2011. Moreover, Kerafed moved to its own headquarters in Thiruvananthapuram during his tenure.

Mr. Pillai became a full-time functionary of the Communist Party of India after his retirement from the KSEB in 1990. His speeches in affirmative style, laced with subtle humour, were a major attraction at public meetings of the Left Democratic Front.

Mr. Pillai never wavered from the ideology of M.N. Govindan Nair, his political guru. As a trade union leader, he played a key role in ensuring various service benefits to employees of the KSEB.

He played a key role in materialising the Com. MN-TV Memorial at Pandalam and the Com. Raveendran Memorial in Pathanamthitta.

He, along with Congress leaders Ambika Soni and Vayalar Ravi, had represented India at the World Peace Meet in Moscow in 1972. He had also served as the national vice-president of the All-India Electricity Employees Federation.

Born to Madhavan Pillai and Lakshmikutty at Kudassanad, near Pandalam, in 1935, Mr. Pillai is survived by wife Sreekumari, daughter Geetha, and son Santhosh.

He was the Pathanamthitta district secretary of the CPI for 13 years from 1992, besides being a member of the party State executive. He was also the patron the KEWF.

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