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V S Achuthanandan, the stalwart of Kerala politics turns 100

V. S. Achuthanandan's legacy is marked by his commitment to the welfare of the common people and his tireless efforts to bring about positive changes in Kerala's social and political landscape. The veteran CPM is celebrating his 100th birthday today.

V S Achuthanandan, the stalwart of Kerala politics turns 100 anr
First Published Oct 20, 2023, 9:19 AM IST

Thiruvananthapuram: Former Chief Minister of Kerala V S Achuthanandan turned 100 on Friday (Oct 20). The life of V S is also the social and political history of Kerala. He is the only surviving leader of the 32 who left the Communist Party of India (CPI) Central Committee and formed the Communist Party of India(Marxist). The veteran leader is currently staying at his son V A Arunkumar's residence in Barton Hill, Thiruvananthapuram. Arunkumar had informed the other day that despite his health problems, his father knows all the current events by watching TV and reading newspapers. 

Born on October 20, 1923, in Punnappra, Kerala, his journey through the political landscape is a testament to his enduring legacy and tireless efforts to bring about positive change. He lost his mother at the age of 4 and subsequently lost his father at age 11. He was forced to quit his studies after finishing 7th standard in school. He started working by helping his elder brother in a village tailoring shop to meet daily expenses.  

With a meager work at his brother's shop, he could not sate his hunger. At the age of 15, VS then began working for Aspinwall Company. He also had difficulties there due to the menial work, low pay, and unfavourable working conditions. He incessantly demanded raises in pay. The 16-year-old quickly rose to the top of the company's and the workers' expectations within a year. When he was 17 years old, he joined the party. The young man became a delegate at the Communist Party Congress in 1943. Here began the rise of a young leader named Achuthanandan.

Beginning with the Alappuzha declaration in 1970, which demanded the execution of the Land Reforms Act passed by the EMS Government in 1967, Achuthanandan was at the forefront of the land battles in Kerala. Later, the public positively responded to his work as the opposition leader in the Kerala Assembly. He spent four and a half years in hiding and five years and six months in prison during his 40 years as a politician. In 1957, he was a CPI state secretariat member. Between 1980 to 1992, he served as the Kerala State Committee's secretary. He served on the CPI(M) Polit Bureau until his removal as a result of party disciplinary action in 1985. He is the CPI(M)'s senior-most leader in India.

In the Malampuzha constituency of the Palakkad district, VS Achuthanandan defeated Satheesan Pacheeni of the United Democratic Front by a margin of 20,017 votes during the assembly elections held in Kerala in April-May 2006. On May 18, 2006, he and his 21-member cabinet took the oath of office to become Kerala's Chief Minister. He was one of the oldest chief ministers in all of India at the time and was the oldest in Kerala at 82 years and 7 months. It is noteworthy that he had received a party ticket denial just two months prior to taking the oath of office. He was elected as Kerala's 11th chief minister. His removal from the PB by the CPI(M) Polit Bureau and Central Committee on July 12, 2009, was due to his stances on Pinarayi Vijayan's alleged involvement in the Lavalin bribery and the legal actions launched against him.

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