Elected from Tirupur South in 2011, he championed labour welfare in the state Assembly and ‘distinguished himself as a trade union leader’
Coimbatore: Marxist leader and former MLA K Thangavelu, who cut his teeth as a banian mill worker and went on to spearhead many successful agitations for labour rights in Tamil Nadu, died of COVID-19 in Coimbatore on Sunday.
The 68-year-old party veteran and trade unionist, who was treated for coronavirus at a hospital for the past 14 days passed away early on Sunday, the CPM said. He is survived by his wife and two daughters.
A Marxist ideologue, he was renowned for his lectures on Marxism and leadership qualities and had been a state executive committee (known as state secretariat in the party) member for about 25 years.
Thangavelu started his life as a banian mill worker and he led many successful agitations for the labour rights of the mill workers.
During his stint in trade unions at various levels, he was instrumental in getting these mill workers various rights.
“As a leader, he left an indelible mark through his excellent work. He was simple, honest and calm,” the party said in a statement paying rich tributes to him.
Elected as an MLA in 2011 from Tirupur South Constituency, he championed labour welfare in the Assembly and was close to the voters in his constituency.
Expressing grief and extending condolences, the CPM said Thangavelu’s death is a huge loss for the party, the Left movement and the working class.
DMK president MK Stalin, citing Thangavelu’s humble origins, said he distinguished himself as a trade union leader through his hard work to get labour rights.
Pointing to Thangavelu’s long drawn out agitation (for 127 days) for labour rights, he said it is remarkable in the annals of fight for workers’ welfare.
He had data on issues that affected the general public and the working class on his finger tips, Stalin said, offering his condolences to the bereaved family and party.
CPI state secretary R Mutharasan, condoling his death, hailed the Marxist leader for his struggle to get workers their rights.
MDMK general secretary Vaiko praised Thangavelu as a honest leader who earned the goodwill people in all parties. Announcing a three-day mourning, the CPM said party flags would fly at half mast as a mark of honour to the departed leader.
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