Thiruvananthapuram: Bowing to public pressure, the CPM in Kerala today reversed its decision to drop Chief Minister VS Achuthanandan from contest for the state assembly, bringing the party’s most popular face to poll arena to lead the LDF for the April 13 polls.
The dramatic turn, which was a replay of 2006 scenario, came after the central leadership directed the state unit to revoke its decision, factoring in widespread protests from the party rank and general public over the issue.
The 87-year-old veteran will be contesting from his sitting Malampuzha seat in Palakkad district, as per the list of candidates announced by the party on Friday afternoon.
The faction-riven state unit dominated by state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan had sealed the fate of 87-year-old CPM stalwart on Wednesday.
The decision, however, pushed the party into a deep crisis with workers taking to the street condemning the party decision to dump Achuthanandan. Many of the district committees of CPM also aired their strong feelings against the decision, which also made the party to revoke its earlier decision.
The members of the polit bureau held two rounds of discussion in New Delhi since yesterday and sent a clear message to the state secretariat for reversing its decision.
In 2006 also, Achuthanandan made a dramatic come back to the electoral field thwarting the moves of the rival faction led by Viajayan which initially managed to keep him off the fray.
The move to dump Achuthanandan sparked widespread protest compelling the central leadership to prevail upon the state unit to bring him back.
Achuthanandan is seen as the “best bet” of the LDF to face the huge challenge posed by the Congress-led UDF, which had put up a splendid performance in the last Lok Sabha and civic polls.
Despite his advanced years and the machinations of his rivals, a set of developments in the last couple of months have boosted Achuthanandan’s image as a crusader against corruption in public life.
Imprisonment of Kerala Congress (B) leader and former minister R Balakrishna Pillai in a graft case and renewed interest in palmolein import graft case helped Achuthanandan’s rating to go up among the public.
Other prominent leaders who figure in the party list included Home Minister and PB member Kodiyeri Balakrishnan (Thalassery), ministers Thomas Isaac(Alappzua), Elamaram Kareem (Beypore),M A Baby (Kunduara), P K Gurudasan (Kollam), S Sarma (Vaypeen), A K Balan (Tharoor), G Sudhakaran (Amalpauuzha) and assembly speaker K Radharishnan (Chelakkara).