October 20, 2017
Image credit : illustrative image
Kochi: Veteran communist leader and one of the founders of the CPM, V S Achuthanandan turned 95 on Friday. Born in 1923 as the youngest of the children to Velikkakathu Sankaran and Akkamma at Punnapra in Alappuzha district, he lost his parents when he was around five. Penury forced him to end his studies while VII Grade after which he began assisting his brother at the tailoring shop.
He later worked in a coir factory when revolutionary communist leader P Krishna Pillai assigned him the job of organising coir workers in Kuttanadu. He became the CPI Alappuzha division secretary in 1952 and district secretary in 1964. The same year the party split into two. He is only surviving member of the 32 leaders who left CPI to form the CPM.
He married Vasumathiamma at the age of 46 on July 18, 1967. He contested eight Assembly elections and was successful in five. He was Opposition Leader twice. He became Chief Minister in January 2007, after a tough fight to sideline the Pinarayi Vijayan faction. Known as VS, his popularity surged when he took up the Munnar mission to evict encroachers and demolish unauthorised buildings.
He was admonished by the party a number of times and also dropped from the Politburo for his anti-party stance. He was the one who paved the way for mega projects like the international Vallarpadam Container Transhipment Terminal and the Kochi Metro.