Kerala chief minister out of poll fray (Lead)

March 16th, 2011 - 5:28 pm ICT by IANS  

Thiruvananthapuram, March 16 (IANS) Kerala Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan will not contest the upcoming assembly polls and his number two Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan will lead the election campaign of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), the party decided here Wednesday.

The decision to drop the 87-year-old leader from the list of candidates for the April 13 elections was taken at a marathon four-hour meeting of the CPI-M state secretariat, party sources said.

Emerging from the meeting, a grim-faced Achuthanandan refused to answer any questions and said “those responsible for briefing this will let you know”.

CPI-M state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan, and Achuthanandan’s arch rival, will also not contest the polls the committee decided, sources said.

The decisions will have to be endorsed by the 81-member state committee.

The party secretariat has decided that Balakrishnan will contest from Thalassery seat in Kannur district.

In 2006, Achuthanandan was denied a party ticket but following a huge public outcry, the national leadership had to reverse its decision. He led the Left Front’s poll campaign and went on to become the chief minister.

Reacting to the development, veteran Congress leader Aryadan Mohammed said it is immaterial to the fortunes of the opposition front if Achuthanandan contests or not.

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