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Achuthanandan likely to be Kerala's next CM

Written by: Staff
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Thiruvananthapuram, May 12 (UNI) Eighty two-year-old Velikkakathu Sankaran Achuthanandan, popularly known as 'VS', today emerged as the frontrunner for the post of Chief Minister in Kerala on the eve of the crucial CPI(M) polit bureau meeting at New Delhi, according to Left Democratic Front sources.

Sources said here that in tomorrow's meeting, Mr Achuthanandan was unlikely to face the kind of opposition faced when the politburo earlier discussed the question of his contesting the election.

In the Assembly poll, the Congress-led United Democratic Front was routed by the CPI(M)-led LDF, which won with a two-third majority.

The sources said the politburo would decide the matter tomorrow and report it to the state secretariat on May 14 and finally get the decision formalised by the state committee the next day.

The sources said the CPI(M) did not want to see a possible outburst by party activists if Mr Achuthanandan was sidelined again.

There were reports that the state committee headed by its secretary Pinarayi Vijayan wanted to keep Mr Achuthanandan off the electoral fray. But, it was forced to reverse its decision in the wake of unprecedented protests within the party.

The factors in favour of Mr Achuthanandan would be his mass appeal and his image as a crusader against corruption.

He missed the chief ministerial post narrowly in 1996 when he lost the election in his home ground in Mararikkulam, allegedly as a result of factional fighting. Last year, he suffered another jolt when the Vijayan faction thwarted his bid to take control of the party state committee and secretariat.

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