Friday, March 18, 2011

Amid pressure, CPI (M) to field Achuthanandan for assembly polls

Thiruvananthapuram, March 18, 2011

Bowing to public pressure, the CPI (M) in Kerala today reversed its decision to drop Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan from contest for the State assembly, bringing the party's most popular face to poll arena to lead the LDF for April 13 polls.

The dramatic turn, which was a replay of 2006 scenario, came after the central leadership directed the State unit to revoke its decision, factoring in widespread protests from the party rank and file as well general public over the issue.

The 87-year-old veteran will be contesting from his sitting Malampuzha seat in Palakkad district, as per the list of candidates announced by the party here this afternoon.

The faction-riven state unit dominated by state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan had sealed the fate of 87-year-old CPI(M) stalwart on Wednesday.

The decision, however, pushed the party into a deep crisis with workers taking to the street condemning the party decision to dump Mr. Achuthanandan. Many of the district committees of CPI(M) also aired their strong feelings against the decision, which also made the party to revoke its earlier decision.

The developments were taken seriously by the top rung of the national and the available members of the polit bureau held two rounds of discussion in New Delhi since yesterday and sent a clear message to the state secretariat for reversing its decision.

In 2006 also Mr. Achuthanandan made a dramatic come back to the electoral field thwarting the moves of the rival faction led by Mr. Vijayan which initially managed to keep him off the fray.

The move to dump Mr. Achuthanandan sparked widespread protest at that time also, compelling the central leadership to prevail upon the state unit to bring back him.

Mr. Achuthanandan is seen as the "best bet" of the LDF to face the huge challenge posed by the Congress-led UDF, which had put up a splendid performance in the last Lok Sabha and civic polls.

Despite his advanced years and the machinations of his rivals, a set of developments in the last couple of months have boosted Mr. Achuthanandan's image as a uniting crusader against corruption and morality in public life.

Imprisonment of Kerala Congress (B) leader and former minister R Balakrishna Pillai in a graft case and renewed interest in palmolein import graft case helped Mr. Achuthanandan's rating to go up among the public.

Other prominent leaders who figure in the party list included Home Minister and PB member Kodiyeri Balakrishnan (Thalassery), Ministers Thomas Isaac(Alappzua), Elamaram Kareem (Beypore),M A Baby (Kunduara), P K Gurudasan (Kollam), S Sarma (Vaypeen), A K Balan (Tharoor), G Sudhakaran (Amalpauuzha) and assembly speaker K Radharishnan (Chelakkara).

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