Pinarayi Vijayan set to become next Kerala CM

Pinarayi Vijayan set to become next Kerala CM
CPI(M) strongman Pinarayi Vijayan is all set to become the next chief minister of Kerala with the party unanimously choosing him over 92-year-old veteran V S Achutanandan, who played a major role in bringing the party back to power in the election.

In a bid to placate Achutanandan, the party compared him with Fidel Castro and said he will continue to guide and inspire the front.

The decision to nominate Politburo member Vijayan, 72, as the leader of the LDF legislature party was taken at a meeting of the CPI(M) State Secretariat and Committee, here, a day after LDF trounced the Congress-led UDF bagging 91 seats in the 126-member Assembly.

Announcing the decision, CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury, who attended the meetings, said "the party has decided to propose the name of Pinarayi Vijayan as LDF chief minister."

The time and date of the swearing-in ceremony of the new government, which will be soon, will be decided after consulting other Front partners, he said.

Today's meeting was also attended by Politburo member Prakash Karat. CPI(M) State Secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan will hold talks with front leaders and take a decision on this.

Yechury said considering Achutanandan's age and physical limitations and recognising his role, "we have come to a unanimous decision to propose the name of Pinarayi Vijayan as leader of LDF legislature party".

In a bid to scuttle reports that Achutanandan was reportedly unhappy after he was informed about the Secretariat decision to propose Vijayan's name for the chief minister's post, Yechury met the press flanked by the nonagenarian and Balakrishnan.

Describing Achutanandan as a 'war horse' and likening him to Communist hero Castro, Yechury said the veteran leader will continue to guide and inspire and play that role.

"Comrade VS is like Fidel Castro to Kerala. Like Fidel in Cuba today, advising, guiding, inspiring, Comrade VS will continue that role," he said.

Vijayan, who won the assembly election from Dharmadom in Kannur district with a majority of 36,905 votes, will be the fourth chief minister of CPI(M).

On whether Achutanandan would be given any role in the government, Yechury said the party's present agenda is to form the new government. "All other things can be discussed later," he said.

Asked about Trinamool Congress retaining their government in West Bengal and the Left drubbing in states where polls were held, he said, "Of the three national parties, BJP got 64, Congress 115, and we left parties 124. That is the absolute ground reality statistics."

When asked about the comment of West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC leader Mamata Banerjee that the Left had an unholy alliance with Congress, Yechury shot back saying "what is the holiness between Didibhai-Modibhai".

He said the BJP's vote share had declined by seven per cent in West Bengal and it went to TMC.

Describing the victory of LDF as "historic", he said the BJP victory at Nemom, where O Rajagopal was elected, was due to "match fixing". Yechury saluted the people of Kerala for reimposing their faith in LDF.

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