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Kerala - Thiruvananthapuram Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

CPI(M) denies ticket to V.S. Achuthanandan

C. Gouridasan Nair

Pinarayi opts out, Kodiyeri will contest from Thalassery



CRUCIAL DECISION: Chief Minister V. S. Achuthanandan comes out of the AKG Centre in Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday after the CPI(M) State secretariat meeting.

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Ending weeks of speculation, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has decided not to field Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan in the April 13 Assembly elections.

Simultaneously, party State secretary Pinarayi Vijayan has opted out of the fray. The ruling Left Democratic Front will now be led in the elections by Home Minister and Polit Bureau member Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, who will contest from Thalassery in Kannur district.

The decision to deny Mr. Achuthanandan the ticket, taken by the party secretariat at the end of a marathon meeting attended by CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat here on Wednesday, was ratified by the State committee later in the day.

In what appeared to be a minor re-enactment of the turbulent events of March 2006, when Mr. Achuthanandan was initially denied the ticket to contest the Assembly elections only to be fielded later following public pressure, sporadic demonstrations and poster campaigns in his support were reported from different parts of the State on Wednesday evening.

As in 2006, the CPI(M) Central leadership adopted a hands-off approach to the question, leaving it to the State unit to decide whether or not to field Mr. Achuthanandan. However, there are sufficient indications that it signalled to Mr. Vijayan to stay out of the fray in view of the likely complexities involved in the SNC-Lavalin case.

Mr. Achuthanandan did not oppose the dominant view against his candidature in the State secretariat or at the State committee and is reported to have told the secretariat meeting that he would abide by the party's decision.

According to unconfirmed reports, Education Minister M. A. Baby, Finance Minister T. M. Thomas Isaac, Labour Minister P.K. Gurudasan and Electricity Minister A.K. Balan figure on the list of candidates finalised by the party. Party Central committee members E.P. Jayarajan and M.C. Josephine also figure on the list. The full list of candidates will be announced only on Friday, party sources said.

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