THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: How much time does it take one to traverse the distance from Kodiyeri to Pinarayi, neighbouring villages in Thalassery? Maybe an hour or so. But when it comes to their famous eponymous Left leaders, the distance to be covered is zilch. The almost legendary binary combine of Pinarayi and Kodiyeri that headed the Left movement in the state for almost two decades has finally ended.
The Pinarayi-Kodiyeri axis within the CPM was in vibrant tandem to such an extent that Kodiyeri was always in tune with Pinarayi's thinking, thereby ensuring its effective implementation on ground. In fact, this went a long way in ensuring the smooth running of party affairs, whether in power or when in Opposition.
Despite being drastically divergent characters, they inexplicably complemented each other both politically as well on the personal front. The almost sibling-like bond between them was always a source of surprise to many - one a resolute and unwavering Communist with an unyielding will, not one to mince his words, while the other an affable man who was firm, yet never hesitant to walk that extra mile to make others comfortable. Yet the excellent rapport they shared was very evident.
Senior CPI leader KP Rajendran recalls how he happened to comment on their special bond once, while speaking to Kodiyeri. "At first, he remained silent for about two minutes, as if he had fallen into deep thought. He slowly began recalling the painful days in prison during Emergency when they were prison-mates. It was he who had nursed a brutally beaten-up Pinarayi. When he finished recounting, Kodiyeri's eyes had welled up," shared Rajendran.
On the political front too, this unusually strong bond between them contributed significantly in maintaining party decorum and discipline. Both of them were for long part of the party state committee and central committee. During Pinarayi's term as party secretary from 1998 to 2015, Kodiyeri was his trusted lieutenant who ran the party affairs in the assembly - twice as the Opposition deputy leader and once as the state home minister.
Indeed Kodiyeri's diplomacy and pragmatic approach went a long way in patching up recurrent fissures within the party due to the prolonged VS-Pinarayi friction. It was Kodiyeri who acted as the link between Pinarayi and the rest, many a time, so much so that Kodiyeri began to be considered as the access window to the rigidly aloof Pinarayi.
"It was in fact a bond between two persons with the same wavelength, but differing potentials. What's really remarkable is that while continuing to be Pinarayi's Man Friday, Kodiyeri's unacknowledged power and influence over Pinarayi and his decision-making too was evident. Or in other words, Pinarayi himself had handed Kodiyeri that right,'" observed political commentator NM Pearson.
Only death could have parted the Pinarayi-Kodiyeri duo, which it finally did. What once was Kodiyeri would now remain a pointer to who Pinarayi is.