Veteran CPI leader Veliyam Bhargavan, 85, died on Wednesday. Bhargavan, who was undergoing treatment at the Medical College hospital following respiratory illness, suffered a cardiac arrest in the morning and the death was confirmed around 1.30 pm.
Bhargavan, who had served as the state secretary of CPI, had kept away from active politics for the last two years owing to ill health. From 1998 to 2010, he had led the state CPI and during those years he had tried to ensure unity between the CPI and CPM, the two leading parties of the Left Democratic Front. A leader of impeccable integrity, who is known for his rigid idealistic stances, he was fondly called 'Asan' by his friends and party colleagues.
Bhargavan was born at Veliyam village in Kollam in 1928. He had represented Chadayamangalam constituency in the Kerala Assembly in 1957 and 1960. He had joined politics at a very young age and served as state vice president of Students Federation during 1950-52. He had also served as a Member of Veliyam Panchayat prior to contesting the Assembly poll. Before joining politics, Bhargavan had learnt Sanskrit and treaded the path of spirituality for a few months.
Later, he confined himself to party activities and never showed interest in contesting electoral polls. He has been serving as the national council member of CPI from 1971. During his tenure as the CPI state secretary, Veliyam could rebuild the base of the CPI in its strongholds in Kollam and Thrissur. Though he advocated unity between the CPM and CPI, he never compromised his party's stand to suit the whims of big brother CPM.
Veliyam Bhargavan's body will be kept for public homage at CPI state committee office, Thycaud in the evening. Cremation is likely to take place on Thursday.