Thiruvananthapuram: Veteran CPI leader Veliyam Bhargavan, who led the party in Kerala for long, died here Wednesday, sources said.
Bhargavan (85) had been keeping indifferent health for quite some time and the end came at a city hospital where he was admitted a few days back following respiratory troubles, party sources said.
He was a member of the CPI national council since 1971 and had served as the party`s state secretary from 1998 to 2010, before stepping down from the post citing poor health.
Known for his unsullied record, Bhargavan had chosen to remain on the organisational front during most of his decades long public life.
Though an architect of the present LDF, Bhargavan was a tough negotiator within the front to secure the interests of his party.
Bhargavan who plunged into politics at a young age and displayed exemplary skills as organiser of workers, suffered physical torture for leading struggles of transport workers.
He was elected to the state assembly in 1957 and 60, after which he kept himself off electoral scene, concentrating entirely on the organisational front despite pressures from within the party to contest polls.
"His death is not just a loss to the party but for the whole of Kerala where he distinguished himself on account of his qualities as an astute and selfless politician of unflinching ideological commitment and determination," CPI leader and Rajya Sabha member M P Achuthan said.
Defence Minister A K Antony, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, CPI(M) stalwart V S Achuthanandan and BJP leader O Rajagopal also expressed deep sorrow at the death of Bhargavan.