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Who else, but VS for top job

Though CPI(M)-led LDF is not projecting anyone for the CM's post, the natural choice would be VS Achuthanandan.

india Updated: Apr 12, 2006 17:56 IST

The conclusion is foregone. Though the CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front is not officially projecting anyone for the chief minister's post, the natural choice would be VS Achuthanandan — master crowd puller and the most popular campaigner.

If he wins from the Malampuzha constituency and the LDF musters enough numbers in the assembly, he would be the first Communist to don the mantle from the dominant, but backward Ezhava community.

Others who made it to the hotseat (EM Sankaran Namboothiripad — the first Communist in the world to assume power through the ballot — C Achutha Menon, PK Vasudevan Nair and EK Nayanar) all belonged to the minority upper castes.

What lent credence to the theory is the fact that for the first time, LDF convener Paloli Mohammed Kutty, a strong contender to the post, admitted that the CPI-M had no other choice but Achuthanandan.

The 83-year-old war horse has a chequered history. In 1996, he was the natural choice. But he lost in his home constituency — Mararikkulam in Alappuzha.

In 2001, he was shifted to Malampuzha in Malabar region that had never elected a non-Marxist candidate and he managed to scrape through. However, the LDF lost.

Ill-luck has dogged his run through out. He had to eat crow in the running battle with Pinarayi Vijayan, the reformist state secretary, in the organisational polls.

Vijayan, known for his cut-throat ways, removed Achuthanandan from the post of the editor of the party mouthpieces and axed his loyalists from key posts.

In the run-up to the elections, the politburo had decided not to field either of them and Kutty remained the lone candidate.

But widespread protests spurred a historic rethink in the CPI-M and he was brought back to the fray.