Pinarayi Vijayan to be Kerala CM

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Thiruvananthapuram | Published: May 21, 2016 6:00:37 AM

The CPI(M) leadership has picked party politburo member Pinarayi Vijayan as Kerala chief minister.

The CPI(M) leadership has picked party politburo member Pinarayi Vijayan as Kerala chief minister. Party general secretary Sitaram Yechury announced the name of the new head of the government in the presence of 92-year-old former chief minister VS Achuthanandan.

“As the Left Front takes the reins of the state with a handsome 91/140 majority, we have decided that Pinarayi Vijayan would be the leader of the ruling party in the state assembly” Yechury told reporters.

“V S Achuthanandan has been the warhorse that led the election campaign from the front. However, considering his old age and physical ailments, his services cannot be utilised for chief minister’s chair,” he said. The party, according to Yechury, considers Achuthanandan as the Fidel Castro of India and like Castro, will take the lead role in advising the state government leadership on governance and policy.

Vijayan, 72, who hails from Pinarayi village in Kannur district, has been active with the CPI(M) since his student days. His political mentor was A K Gopalan, the first opposition leader in Parliament. He was inducted to the Kannur district committee of the party at the age of 24 and made his electoral debut in 1970. A five-time legislator, Vijayan became the electricity minister in 1996 during E K Nayanar government.

In the 1998 to 2015 period, when Vijayan was the secretary of the state unit of the CPI(M) that he proved his unquestioned leadership skills in sprucing up the organisational machinery of the party.

The only blemish in his career came in 1997 when, as the electricity minister, he was accused of causing a loss of R266 crore to the state exchequer over a deal on power equipment. But the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) gave a clean chit to Vijayan in 2013. The outgoing Oommen Chandy government had approached the high court on this issue. The court is expected to take this up next month.

The CPI(M) state secretariat took the formal decision to make Vijayan the party’s chief minister nominee in the presence of party general secretary Sitaram Yechury and politburo member Prakash Karat, who’s known to be close to Vijayan. Achuthanandan, who had evinced interest to become chief minister once again, was present, when Yechuri briefed newspersons on the new decisions.

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