Insight Online News
Thiruvananthapuram, May 3 : Former Minister and Kerala Congress (B) Chairman R Balakrishna Pillai passed away due to age old illness at a private hospital at Kottarakkara in Kollam on Monday morning.
Balakrishna Pillai was admitted to the private hospital a few days back and was in ventilator support, family sources said.
He was 86. He is survived by two daughters, Usha and Bindu, and a son, actor KB Ganesh Kumar who served as a minister in Kerala during 2001-03 and 2011-13. His wife Valsala died at the age of 76 in 2018.
He also served as chairman of the Kerala State Welfare Corporation for Forward Communities and a Director Board member of Nair Service Society.
R Balakrishna Pillai was member of Thiruvathankur Students Union, which later become Tirukochi Vidyarthi Federation and later Kerala Students Union.
He was elected to the Kerala Legislative Assembly for the first time in 1960 from the Pathanapuram Assembly Constituency of Kollam district as a Congress candidate at the age of 25 and holds the record for becoming the youngest MLA of Kerala.
In 1964, 15 MLAs led by KM George, including Balakrishna Pillai, left the Congress party and formed a regional party ‘Kerala Congress’ with George as the chairman and Pillai as general secretary.
Pillai won the elections from his home constituency Kottarakara in 1965 but was defeated in the next two elections of 1967 and 1970.
He was elected to the Lok Sabha in the 1971 general election from Mavelikara constituency.
After the death of KM. George in 1976, there was tussle for control over the party between Balakrishna Pillai and KM Mani. In 1977, the party split into the Mani and Pillai groups. He was re-elected to the state legislature in 1977 and then again in the general elections of 1980, 1982, 1987, 1991, 1996, and 2001, but was defeated in the 2006 election.
He is a founder member of United Democratic Front (UDF). He was Minister for several years in various Ministries headed by C Achutha Menon, K Karunakaran, EK Nayanar and AK Antony.
In 2011, the Supreme Court sentenced R. Balakrishna Pillai and two others to one-year imprisonment for allegedly abusing their position in the award of a contract for the Edamalayar hydroelectric power project.
Gandeevam, a biography of Pillai written by Vrindavanam Venugopalan with a foreword by Sooranad Kunjan Pillai, was published by Viswakeralam Daily. Pillai’s autobiography was published by DC Books in 2011. He also acted in two Malayalam movies in 1979 and 1980 — Vedikkettu and Ival Oru Naadody.
Balakrishna Pillai was born in 1935 in Valakom near Kottarakkara as the son of Keezhoote Raman Pillai and Karthyayani Amma.