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Achuthanandan: Comrade who came up from ranks

Achuthanandan's has been a rise from humble beginnings to the top rungs of the party.

india Updated: May 15, 2006 20:49 IST

The first communist Chief Minister hailing from truly proletarian background in Kerala, life for the 82-year-old VS Achuthanandan has been an unending struggle not just against inequalities and injustices of a class-based society but also against the detractors in his own party.

A quintessential 'opposition leader' who never occupied any ministerial positions before, Achuthandan is one of the few mass leaders left in the CPI (M) in Kerala after the departure of stalwarts like A K Gopalan, E M S Namboodiripad and EK Nayanar.

But unlike his predecessors who came from feudal-aristocratic families, Achuthanandan's has been a rise from humble beginnings to the top rungs of the party, and finally to the highest office in the state after his narrow-miss in 1996.

A hardliner on ideological matters, Achuthanandan had often faced the charge of being a factionalist with an uncanny knack to cut to size of his rivals within the party.

He had always sought to give ideological colour to his battles in the party but his critics dub it as a ruse to cover up his bid to re-inforce his grip in the party.

Achuthanandan's uncompromising positions had often made himself the target of manipulations by his opponents, with his upset defeat in 1996 assembly polls going down in the annals of Kerala's history as a classic case of political deception.

The dramatic events in the strife-torn party in Kerala, divided into camps loyal to state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan and Achuthnandan, turned out to be a blessing in disguise for the senior leader as it considerably boosted his image in people's imagination cutting through class, caste and religion.

First Published: May 15, 2006 20:49 IST