R. Balakrishna Pillai
R. Balakrishna Pillai
|Member of Legislative assembly|
|Succeeded by||P. Aisha Potty|
|Born||8 March 1935|
Valakom, Quilon, Travancore
|Political party||Kerala Congress (B) (1977–85,1991–)|
Indian National Congress (1950s–1964)
|Children||3, including Ganesh Kumar|
Keezhoote Raman Pillai Balakrishnan Pillai, is an Indian politician and a former minister of the state of Kerala in India, holding portfolios such as Transport and Electricity. He was member of the Kerala Legislative Assembly from Kottarakara constituency in Kollam district for decades. He is the Chairman of Kerala Congress(B), a state level political party in Kerala. Throughout his political career, Pillai remained a controversial figure in Kerala state politics.
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.
Balakrishna Pillai was born in 1935 in Valakom near Kottarakkara in Kollam district, as the son of Keezhoote Raman Pillai and Karthyayani Amma. His father was a wealthy Nair landlord with plenty of land in the present-day Kerala and Tamil Nadu states. He was married to Valsala and has two daughters and a son, The latter, K. B. Ganesh Kumar, is a film actor and politician who served as a state minister during 2001-03 and 2011-13. His wife died on 3 January 2018 aged 76.
Indian National Congress
Balakrishna Pillai later joined the Indian National Congress (INC) party. In 1960 he became member of the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee executive and of the All India Congress Committee.
He was elected to the Kerala Legislative Assembly for the first time in 1960 from the Pathanapuram Assembly Constituency of Kollam district, as an INC candidate, at the age of 25 and holds the record for becoming the youngest MLA of Kerala.
Kerala Congress formation
In 1964, fifteen MLAs led by K. M. George (including Balakrishna Pillai) left the Congress and formed a regional party called the 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 and served as the Member of Parliament (MP) until 1977.
From December 1975 to June 1976, he served as the Minister for Transport, Excise and Jails in the Kerala Cabinet.
Kerala Congress split
After the death of K. M. George in 1976, there was tussle for control over the party between Balakrishna Pillai and K. M. 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. His victory margin of 37000 votes in 1980 remained a record for the State Assembly polls for more than a quarter century.
He is a founder member of United Democratic Front (UDF). He was Minister for several years starting in different Ministries headed by C. Achutha Menon, K. Karunakaran, E. K. Nayanar, and A. K. Antony.
Punishment by Supreme Court
The government appointed Justice K. Sukumaran to inquire into allegations related to the Idamalayar and Kallada Dam construction projects. Based on his report, R. Balakrishna Pillai and others were prosecuted by a Special Court. The Supreme Court on 10 February 2011 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. The apex court bench of Justices P. Sathasivam and B.S. Chauhan reversed the Kerala High Court judgment which had acquitted all the three. Chief Minister V. S. Achuthanandan had moved the Supreme Court, in his personal capacity, challenging the verdict of acquittal and the apex court allowed Achuthanandan's appeal.
- R. Balakrishna Pillai has been reelected Chairman of Kerala Congress(B). Insidekerala.com. Retrieved on 2 December 2011.
- Justice K. Sukumaran (December 2001). "NO FORESIGHT... NO FOLLOWUP" (PDF). IPT. Retrieved 23 April 2012.
- Apex court gives one-year jail to former Kerala minister. Sify.com (10 February 2011). Retrieved on 2011-12-02.