New Delhi: Although the campaign for the Communist Party of India (Marxist) or CPM in Kerala was largely led by its veteran leader and former chief minister V.S. Achuthanandan, politburo member and former Kerala state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan has been covering ground as well.
And the effort seems to have borne fruit with the Left Democratic Front (LDF) leading in 89 seats with the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) at 49, according to NDTV. Pinarayi Vijayan won from Dharmadam constituency, while Achutanandan won Malampuzha.
The two leaders from CPM—the largest party in the winning Left Democratic Front (LDF)—will be the main contenders for the post of state chief minister.
Born in 1944 to a toddy tapper’s family in Kannur, 72-year-old Vijayan served the longest as Kerala CPM state committee secretary from 1998 to 2015. He has been elected to the state legislative assembly four times.
The CPM has not declared a chief ministerial candidate this election but for 92-year-old Achuthanandan, the main competition comes from Vijayan.
“While V.S. has been a mass leader face for the party in Kerala, Vijayan has led the party effectively for 17 years. A lot of the ground leadership that is there in the state today is due to the efforts of Vijayan," said a CPM leader from Kerala, who did not wish to be named.
According to a news report in the Times of India, the two leaders had fallen out over Pinarayi’s alleged involvement in the SNC Lavalin Scam. He had been blamed for irregularities in the awarding of ₹ 375 crore worth of contracts for the repair and maintenance of three power plants. He was discharged as an accused in the case after a Central Bureau of Investigation.
Vijayan became the minister for electricity and cooperation in 1996. Following the death of state secretary Chadayan Govindan, Pinarayi submitted resignation as minister to become the state secretary in 1998. He was elected to the central committee and politburo of CPM at the 16th Party Congress held in Kolkata.
During his tenure as state secretary, Vijayan led two key campaigns. The first was the Kerala march of 2006 which mobilised the people against the misrule of the UDF government. The second was the Nava Kerala march in 2009 to help the growth of CPM in the state.