Will be given a funeral with police honours at Thripunithura on Saturday
KOCHI: Former Minister and senior CPI(M) leader T.K. Ramakrishnan, 84, died in a city hospital here early this afternoon.
A diabetes patient, he had been in hospital for three weeks undergoing dialysis and treatment for a heart ailment. A fortnight ago, his health had critically deteriorated, but he had survived the threat. However, around mid-day on Friday, Mr. Ramakrishnan suffered a heart attack and died at 1 p.m.
Mr. Ramakrishnan, who had lost his wife a few months back, is survived by four daughters and a son.
The body was taken to Layam Ground at Thripunithura in the afternoon for public viewing. Thousands of people from all walks of life paid tributes the departed leader. All the LDF Assembly candidates in Ernakulam district, and some of the UDF candidates too, paid their last respects to the senior Communist leader from this district.
Mr. Ramakrishnan was born at Eroor near Thripunithura in 1922. A nine-time MLA and three-time Minister, `TK' had been a member of the CPI(M)'s Central committee until a year back. He was in charge of the Home, Excise, Cultural Affairs and Fisheries Departments during the LDF administration at different times. He was Minister for Fisheries and Cultural Affairs in the 1996-2001 Nayanar Government. He had also served as the convener of the LDF, and the Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly.
TK, who had turned a political activist as a teenager, became a member of the Communist Party in 1941. He was expelled from Sanskrit College, Thripunithura, for participating in the Quit India movement. As a young man, Mr. Ramakrishna had led a succession of farmers' struggles and organised trade union activities. He had been jailed several times, including during Emergency.
Mr. Ramakrishnan was elected to the Assembly from his hometown Thripunithura in 1977 and 1980 (but had been defeated in the 1982 election by K.G.R. Kartha). Later, he moved to Kottayam, from where he was elected in 1987, 1991 and 1996. In 1987, he defeated Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan; in 1991 Cherian Philip; and in 1996 Mohan Shankar.
Mr. Ramakrishan was a lover of books and arts. He had penned a series of plays, which highlighted the social realities of the time and which propagated the Communist ideology. He also wrote a novel `Kallile Theepporikal' (Sparks from the rock).
Mr. Ramakrishnan will be given a funeral with police honours at Thripunithura at 9 a.m. on Saturday.
The Government has also declared Saturday as a holiday for the departments administered by him in the districts of Ernakulam, Thrissur, Palakkad, Malappuram, Wayanad, Kozhikode, Kannur and Kasaragod. The departments are Home, Cooperation, Fisheries, Culture, Excise, Printing and Stationery and Rural Development. The holiday will not be applicable for work connected with the elections in the State.
Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and his Cabinet colleagues, Speaker Therambil Ramakrishnan, the former Chief Minister A.K. Antony, CPI(M) State secretary Pinarayi Vijayan, CPI State secretary Veliyam Bhargavan and a host of leaders have condoled the death of Mr. Ramakrishnan.
In separate messages here on Friday, they described Mr. Ramakrishnan as a multi-faceted personality who worked ceaselessly for the uplift of the downtrodden but at the same remained a creative person. In his death, the State has lost an important campaigner for the financially backward and marginalised section of the population, they said.
The Speaker termed Mr. Ramakrishnan as a leader who had worked for the farmers and farm workers and who also excelled as an administrator and trade union leader. In his message, Mr. Vijayan said Mr. Ramakrishnan was a leader who had shown amazing ability to solve public issues. Mr. Bhargavan said Mr. Ramakrishnan was one of the key figures in the formation of the Left movement in the erstwhile Travancore-Cochin area.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) State president P.S. Sreedharan Pillai said Mr. Ramakrishnan had endeared himself to large sections of the population with his genial nature. BJP South India organiser P.P. Mukundan said Mr. Ramakrishnan's contributions as people's representative and leader were unforgettable. Kerala Congress(B) leader R. Balakrishna Pillai said the State had lost a very good public person in Mr. Ramakrishnan's death.