Kerala Congress (B) chairman and former minister R Balakrishnan Pillai passes away at a private hospital in Kottarakara. The 87-year-old leader was admitted to the hospital following breathing issues and was in ventilator support.
At the age of 25, Balakrishnan became the MLA. Throughout his career, he played an important role in establishing the UDF alliance in Kerala.
In 1960, Pillai was first elected to the Assembly from Pathanapuram and later he won from Kottarakara in 1965. Without looking back, he consecutively won from the Kottarakara Assembly constituency from 1977 to 2006. In the 2006 election, Pillai was defeated by CPM's Aisha Potty and after that defeat, he never contested.
He even held various portfolios namely transport, excise and power under veterans like C Achutha Menon, K Karunakaran, EK Nayanar and AK Antony. Pillai's political career saw many ups and downs. He had to resign from the ministry following his speech in the 1980s in which he called for agitation.
The former Kerala minister was the first minister who served a jail term for being convicted in a corruption case. In 2011, the Supreme Court sentenced Pillai and two others to one year imprisonment for allegedly misusing their position in the name of a contract for the Idamalayar hydroelectric power project during his tenure as power minister under then CM K Karunakaran.
Since 2017, he has been serving as the chairman of Kerala State Welfare Corporation for Forward Communities, with cabinet rank. Just before his death, Balakrishnan's son KB Ganesh Kumar had won the Kerala Assembly election. In 2008, Kerala Congress (B), an ally of then UDF joined LDF and now, Kerala Congress (B) is a part of the LDF.