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VS emerges victor in Kerala politics

Written by: Staff

Thiruvananthapuram, May 18 (UNI) For a man whose political obituary had been written by many, veteran Maxist leader and Politbureau member V S Achuthanandan has emerged as a victor in Kerala politics, shattering his political opponents to become the Chief Minister of the state.

Velikkakathu Sankaran Achuthanandan, 82, an ardent Marxist and a leader of the masses, in his six decades of political life has never held a ministerial position, missing the highest job on two occasions.

This veteran of the legendary Punnapra-Vayalar peasant uprising and Politbureau member for a decade missed the big job on two occasions despite being projected as the CPI(M) Chief Ministerial aspirant.

First, in 1991, when the LDF lost the election, thanks to the post-Rajiv Gandhi sympathy wave. In 1996, when the LDF came to power, Mr Achuthanandan was defeated in Mararikkulam, where the CPI (M) had never tasted defeat, mainly due to the infighting in the party. It was unfortunate for him that when his party won the election, he lost and when he won election, his party lost.

During this election also, he had nearly missed the train when the prospective candidate list for the CPI(M) was published. His name was absent in the list. The Politbureau which had denied him the ticket had to rethink over it following wide spread protests rallies, e-mails and SMS in support of the comrade.

The Politbureau finally succumbed to the pressure, and decided to field Mr Achuthanandan, popularly known as ''V S'' from Malampuzha constituency in Palakkad district. It was for the first time in the history of the CPI(M) that the Politbureau had reversed its earlier decision regarding the candidature of its members and yielded to the pressures of the cadres. This is what makes Mr Achutanandan to be rightly called a leader of the masses.

Mr Achuthanandan's is the story of an amazing transformation of a man, who was seen as just a mere factional leader till five years ago. Since then, as the Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly, he literally carved out a niche for himself championing the causes of Dalits, tribals and women and also the environment.

During his stint as the Opposition Leader in the last five years, he had enough popular support. He did take active personal interests in making visits to even the remotest of places, whenever he believed that the government was not doing things in a right manner, or done in an outright dishonest way. He is a person who has questioned the rationale of the many ''new economic'' development initiatives involving big money. If Mr Achuthanandan has struck a chord with the masses, it is because he embodies their concerns and aspirations.

He has also waged many a battle in the courts against veteran leader and former Chief Minister K Karunakaran in the ''Palmolien'' deal and against former Electricity Minister R Balakrishna Pillai in the ''Edamalayar dam'' case.

He is also against the proposal for an Express Highway taking loans from the ADB and the Smart City deal, which are considered to be welcome for the State CPI(M) and its secretary Pinarayi Vijayan.

These staunch bearings did create an impression that he was basically opposed to any development in the state. This was reflected in the elections with the Congress branding V S as the anti-development hero of the state.

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