The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) expresses its deep grief at the passing away of Comrade E Balanandan, veteran leader of the Party and the working class movement. He died on January 19, 2009 at the age of 84. He was a former member of the Polit Bureau and former President of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions.
Balanandan began his life as an industrial worker in an aluminium company in Aluva, Kerala. He began his trade union activities by forming the Aluminium Factory Workers Union and became its first General Secretary. As a pioneering trade union leader he was dismissed from work. He became an active organizer of the All Travancore Trade Union Congress which later merged with the AITUC. He organized workers in the Kochi area and became the district secretary of the AITUC.
Comrade Balanandan joined the Communist Party in 1943. He was elected to the Kerala State Committee when the CPI(M) was formed. He served as a member of the state secretariat and he was elected to the Central Committee of the Party at the 9th Congress held at Madurai in 1972. He became a member of the Polit Bureau of the Party at the 10th Congress in 1978. Since then, he worked from the Central Committee office and at the all India CITU centre.
When the CITU was formed in 1970 he became the first Secretary of the Kerala State Committee and later he was elected as the Treasurer of the all India CITU. He became the all India President of the CITU in 1990 and continued in this position till 2002. Balanandan made an important contribution to the development of the CITU as an all India trade union centre.
Comrade Balanandan spent four and a half years underground and was in jail for five years. He suffered police torture and beatings in jail during this period. Balanandan was elected twice to the Kerala Legislative Assembly. He was elected to the Lok Sabha for a term in 1980. He served two terms in the Rajya Sabha from 1988 to 2000. He was also the CPI(M) leader in the Rajya Sabha.
Comrade Balanandan was imbued with Marxism-Leninism and he consistently stood for the working class outlook within the Party. His vast experience in the working class movement proved to be an asset for the CPI(M). Balanandan was a much loved leader who behaved affectionately with Party comrades and with the workers he organized in the trade union movement.
In his death the Party and the working class movement has lost a valuable leader. The Polit Bureau pays respectful homage to his memory and conveys its heartfelt condolences to his wife Sarojini Balanandan, his four children and other family members.