It was business as usual for Kerala’s ‘Castro’ V S Achuthanandan on a day he turned 93, as state Assembly proceedings kept the CPI(M) stalwart and former chief minister busy. As he walked into the House wearing his trademark white shirt and mundu (dhoti), several young MLAs rushed to greet him. Assembly Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan also greeted him on behalf of the house.
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“Today the senior most member Achuthanandan turned 93 and the house extends greetings to him,” the Speaker said amid thumping of desks by the treasury and opposition benches.
CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury and senior CWC member A K Antony were among those who greeted him telephonically.
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Achuthanandan, who is chairman of the state Administrative Reforms Committee, raised the issue of grievances of IT sector employees in the state. He alleged that employees in the IT sector in the state were being exploited.
Velikkakath Sankaran Achuthanandan, popularly known as VS, was born on October 20, 1923 in a working class family in Punnapra in Alappuzha district. A founder leader of CPI(M) in 1964 after the split of the CPI, Achuthanandan was a mass leader who went on to become the chief minister from 2006-11.
During the subsequent Congress-led UDF rule, he was the Opposition leader.
The nonagenarian was the main campaigner in the May 16 state assembly polls that saw LDF sweep to power with a massive mandate of 91 seats. However the party, while describing Achuthanandan as the ‘Fidel Castro of Kerala’, sidelined him for a second stint as chief minister considering his age and physical limitations and instead chose the relatively younger Pinarayi Vijayan.