One of the oldest politicians of the country, Velikkakath Sankaran Achuthanandan runs around the state with the vigour of a youngster these days. Everyone in the LDF needs this crowd-puller known for his acerbic tongue and mass popularity. The veteran spoke to Hindustan Times about LDF’s prospects in the May 16 poll, his love for social media and other issues, including CPI(M)-Congress poll alignment in West Bengal.
Being the main campaigner of the Left Democratic Front you are touring the state from one end to the other. How do you find prospects of your coalition?
No doubt we will touch three digits (at least 100 in 140-member house). People are waiting for a chance to dump the most corrupt government the state has ever seen. Solar scam, bar bribery to illegal land deals, this government [is] a blot on the nation’s face. It will be a verdict against [Oommen] Chandy and [Narendra] Modi.
You will be the next chief minister?
Don’t try to land me in unnecessary controversies. Such issues my party will decide. General secretary Sitaram Yechury had explained this earlier. Now our main task is to bring the LDF to power.
There are reports that you have got an assurance in this regard.
These are your interpretations. I don’t want to say anything on this.
Some people do say you meekly surrendered to the party?
My association with the party is very old. Those who criticise me have no idea about this. I became a party member at the age of 17 after working in it for three years (that is 14 years onwards). It explains everything.
In Kerala, CPI(M) and Congress are sworn enemies but in Bengal you are friends?
It was a local arrangement to fight the enemy no 1 (Mamata Banerjee). The party central leadership has made it clear that it was a temporary arrangement. Now Mamata is facing the music. At times you have to enter into such deals.
For the first time, many constituencies are witnessing tough three-way fights?
The BJP’s dream of opening its account will remain a mirage. They have got strength in certain pockets and it won’t be sufficient for seats. More than the Congress, now people of Kerala hate the BJP and PM Modi. An informed society, JNU and Hyderabad varsity incidents have shocked them. Modi promised in 100 days he will bring back black money and deposit it in the common man’s account. You know what really happened — money launderers are slipping out of the country so easily. Now the PM remains mostly on foreign soil. Look, there is enough space for secular democratic forces these days —the Left will be a force to reckon with and Kerala will mark the beginning.
You recently joined Facebook and Twitter?
I am 92-plus. Need such things to live amongst youngsters. I want to connect with young voters. Social media is very popular and its interventions on certain occasions were really good.