Velikkakathu Sankaran Achuthanandan, (Malayalam:വേലിക്കകത്ത് ശങ്കരന് അച്യുതാനന്ദന്) (born 20 October, 1923) is an Indian politician who has been the twentieth Chief Minister of Kerala state since May 2006. He has also been a member of the Politburo of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI(M)) since 1985.
Born on 20 October 1923
to Sankaran and Accamma in Alappuzha district
of Kerala state, Achuthanandan had to face poverty from a very early age. He lost his mother when he was four years old and subsequently lost his father at age 11. This forced him to quit his studies after finishing 7th
standard in school. He started working by helping his elder brother in a village tailoring shop. Later he took up the job of meshing coir
to make ropes at a coir factory.
He entered politics through trade union
activities and joined State Congress in 1938. In 1940, he became a member of the Communist Party of India
(CPI). During his 40 years as a politician he was imprisoned for five years and six months and had gone under hiding for four and half years. He was a state secretariat member of the CPI in 1957. During the Sino-Indian war
in 1962, he was with the nationalists in the party, supporting Indian side. He was demoted in the party rank when he participated in a blood donation camp to help Indian soldiers. He is the only living Keralite
among the 32 members who left the CPI National Council in 1964 to form the CPI(M). He is the senior most leader of CPI(M) in Kerala.
On May 26
, the CPI(M) suspended Achuthanandan, along with Pinarayi Vijayan
, state secretary of CPI(M), from the Politburo for their public remarks on each other. The central committee has approved the Politburo's decision to suspend them. Later the central committee revoked the suspension of VS.
Achuthanandan has served many positions in his long political career. He was the Kerala State Secretary of the CPI(M) between 1980 and 1992 and he became a member of the Politburo in 1985. He has also been active in parliamentary politics; he was elected as a member of Kerala Legislative Assembly
in 1967, 1970, 1991, 2001 and 2006. He was the Leader of Opposition in the Kerala Legislative Assembly
from 1992 to 1996 and from 2001 to 2006. He was the editor of CPI(M) mouth piece in Malayalam, Deshabhimani
2006 Assembly Elections
During the assembly elections held in Kerala in April-May 2006, VS Achuthanandan defeated Satheesan Pacheeni of the United Democratic Front
by a margin of 20,017 votes in Malampuzha
constituency in Palakkad
- As a Chief Minister he has succeeded in the revival of several public sector units, measures to tackle price rises, reaching an agreement on the Smart City project in Kochi which most of the work had done by his predecessor Oommen Chandy. He also took initial action against encroachment of government land in the hill resort and tea plantation town of Munnar.
- On 30 December 2007, he became the first Communist CM to trail to the 800-year-old hill temple of Sabarimala. The 84-year-old Achuthanandan rejected any sort of physical or medical support as he worried doctors trying to catch up with him while trudging non-stop three hours on foot.
- V S Achuthandan supports free and open source software movement in the state and Richard Stallman has also supported his activities regarding this.
- During the 2006 Assembly Elections, the party had to be reverted its decision of not to field Achuthanandan, due to organised protest marches by Achuthanandan groups across the state. Many people believe that he has links with the planned demonstration against Party. However, an enquiry being performed in this regard and some of his supporters were punished and the rest could escape.
- The anti-reclamation stir launched by the Kerala State Karshaka Thozhilali Union (KSKTU) at Mankonpu in 1996-97, under the leadership of Achuthanandan created much controversy. The protest got the sobriquet following the violent methods and crop destruction resorted to by the KSKTU cadre. The stir generated lot of public criticism and Achuthanandan expressed his disapproval of any further destruction of crops. He was active in the famous Punnapra-Vayalar uprising that led to a police shootout killing many.
- He took initiative of Munnar eviction mission by giving a good start. Massive portions of land allegedly grabbed over the years by resort owners and multinational companies like Tata Tea Limited. Later, the demolition team landed in the emerging metro city of Kochi, and other cities in Kerala and recovered a huge part of landscape and subsequently, it got good media attention. Unfortunately, the mission had failed and even the team which led it was orphaned. The District Collector, Inspector General of Police and the Person in charge had been replaced. As the opponents’ claim, this may cause to have lost some credibility of the government. Meanwhile, Achuthanandan said that the Munnar mission would continue vigorously and extended to other areas
- Being the chief minister of the state, he has to frequently face struggle with Pinarayi Vijayan, the powerful head of the party which leads the ruling coalition. Both of them are heading for showdowns, which often lacking Achuthanandan to take strong decisions. This power struggle often turned worse as both attacking each other. As a result, this group fights created two set of party leaders and even the ministers in the government, the name called VS groups and Pinarayi groups.
- In a statement he called Faris Abubakhar, a businessman in Kerala as a ‘hated man’ as the latter’s alleged involvement with the kidney racket in Singapore. Later, during an interview with a TV channel, Farris Abubacker claimed that he bribed money to VS Achuthanandan also. Interview video This became controversy again and VS dismissed the whole allegations made by Farris as ‘fabricated’.
During the CPM state conference held in Kottayam
, he has been criticized strongly due to his style of functioning by a majority of Pinarayi Vijayan supporters (38/53) known as official faction
and they demanded his ouster from Chief Minister. They warned that the party would lose seats if it goes for ahead parliamentary elections under his leadership.