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No ticket, VS left out in the cold

delhi Updated: Mar 17, 2011 01:27 IST
Ramesh Babu
Ramesh Babu
Hindustan Times
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Kerala chief minister VS Achuthanandan has been denied a ticket to contest in the upcoming assembly polls.

The Left Democratic Front (LDF) campaign will now be led by state home minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, a politburo member, who will contest from the Thalassery seat in Kannur district.

The decision was taken at a marathon meeting of the secretariat of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPM), which leads the LDF, on Wednesday.

Many party members are believed to have strongly opposed Achuthanandan's candidature forcing the state committee to drop him. CPM general secretary Prakash Karat also attended the meeting.

Refusing to comment as he emerged from the meeting, a visibly upset chief minister only said, "A responsible party functionary will inform you about the decision."

In the 2006 elections too, the party initially did not give a ticket to Achuthanandan, but was forced to revoke its decision after protests broke out. He led the party's poll campaign and went on to become the chief minister.

This time, however, he is unlikely to get such support.

The 87-year-old leader had grown unpopular for his autocratic style of work. His public feud with state party secretary Pinarayi Vijayan in 2007 did not go down well with the party leadership.

Vijayan had taken on the CM after he ordered the razing of illegal constructions in the tourist hub of Munnar in Kerala.

The widening rift between the two arch foes had forced the CPM to suspend Achuthanandan from the politburo.

Vijayan, an accused in the SNC Lavalin power scam, will also not contest as he opted out of the poll arena.

Two weeks ago, Achuthanandan had openly expressed his desire to contest the polls.

Some party workers even believed he might be given a chance after he raked up a number of old cases including the 1992 palm oil case and the Kozhikode ice cream parlour sex scandal of the mid-1990s.