(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
January 25, 2009
The Centre of Indian Trade Unions secretariat has issued the following statement on January 19, 2009
THE CITU secretariat mourns with heavy heart the passing away of Comrade E Balanandan, veteran trade union leader, stalwart of the working class movement of the country and former president of CITU, in the early hours of January 19, 2009 at Kochi. He was 84 and was suffering from a prolonged illness.
Born in a working class family, Comrade Balanandan had to fight poverty in his childhood. He started his working life at a very early age and almost simultaneously took interest in taking up the workers’ issues and started organising them. In the early 1940s he worked in a steel erection unit in Aluva Industrial centre in Kerala and later joined as electrician in General Electric Company. He took initiative to organise the workers in the entire industrial area. He had been victimised and dismissed several times owing to his trade union activities and for leading working class struggles. He also played an important role in the famous Punnapra Vayalar struggle.
Comrade Balanandan became a full timer of the working class movement at a very young age and took up the task of organising the working class in the state and mobilising them in the anti-British struggle. Soon, he was elected the district secretary of AITUC and played crucial role in leading the workers’ struggle in various industrial units like steel, aluminium, pottery, textile, electricity, heavy engineering as well as in traditional sector like cashew, coir, toddy-tappers, plantation, weaving etc.
Comrade Balanandan was among the founder leaders of the CITU and was a member of its secretariat since its inception. He was the president of CITU from 1990 to 2002. His commitment to the revolutionary ideology and class struggle and his pioneering role in initiating countrywide united struggles against policies of neo-liberal imperialist globalisation throughout the 1990s and thereafter, will ever be remembered. He always used to take pride in identifying himself as a worker.
Comrade Balanandan also earned distinction in championing the cause of toiling people in the legislative forums including parliament. He was a member of the Kerala assembly during 1967 to 1969 and 1970 to 1976. He was elected to Lok Sabha in 1980 and also served as a member of Rajya Sabha during 1988 - 2000.
A life long communist, Comrade Balanandan joined the Communist Party in 1943 and played an important role in the Communist movement of the country, particularly in Kerala. He always took a firm and forthright stand on all ideological issues. He was elected to the central committee member of CPI(M) in 1972 and was a member of its Polit Bureau from 1978 till he was relieved in 2005 due to ill health.
Despite being a leader of highest esteem, Comrade Balanandan was accessible to all. His demise has caused irreparable damage to the working class and democratic movement of the country.
The CITU secretariat salutes the memory of the departed leader, dips its flag in deep respect and conveys condolence to his family members and comrades.