The house tucked away in a quiet corner of the Vrindavan Gardens near Pattom here opened its doors to its master for one last time, this rainy afternoon.

The body of Veliyam Bhargavan, Senior Communist leader and former State Secretary of the CPI, who passed away here on Wednesday afternoon, was brought home at around 2.30 p.m.

A long line of Veliyam’s comrades, representing different phases of the 60 years of his active political life, came to pay their last respects. Not to forget the hundreds of local-level party workers who kept streaming into the house even late into the evening. For all of them, there was only one way to address him — ‘aashaan’ (master).

Among the first visitors was E. Chandrasekharan Nair, whose political career coincides with Veliyam’s. Both were members of the first Legislative Assembly of Kerala led by the undivided Communist Party and both chose to go with CPI during the split of 1964.

Senior CPI(M) leader V.S. Achthanandan, State Executive member of the CPI C. Divakaran, CPM Polit Bureau member M.A. Baby, CPI State Secretariat member Mullakkara Ratnakaran, CPM leader Elamaram Kareem, Minister of State for Civil Aviation K.C. Venugopal, State Finance Minister K.M. Mani, Tourism Minister A.P. Anil Kumar, Deputy Speaker N. Sakthan, CPM Central Committee member M. Vijayakumar, Congress MLAs Palode Ravi and K. Muraleedharan, and many other leaders paid their last respects at Veliyam’s residence.

The visit of Swami Prakashananda from Sivagiri math served as a reminder of Veliyam’s spiritual past before he became a lifelong communist.

A common stand among the visitors was that Veliyam was someone who commanded respect from members of the rival party even when he was putting forward views that were strongly in opposition to theirs. His staying away from the lures of power politics and concentration on building the party organisation was also commented upon.

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