CPM drops, takes back warhorse Achuthanandan

Bowing to public pressure, the CPI (M) in Kerala on Friday reversed its decision to drop Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan from contesting in the April 13 state Assembly election, bringing the party's most popular face to poll arena to lead the LDF.

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 file as well as 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 here on Friday afternoon.

The faction-driven state unit, dominated by state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan, had sealed the fate of 87-year-old CPI-M 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 district committees of CPI-M also aired their strong feelings against the decision forcing the party to revoke its earlier decision.

The developments were taken seriously by the top rung of the national and the available members of the politburo who held two rounds of discussion in New Delhi since Thursday and sent a clear message to the state secretariat to reverse its decision.

In 2006, Achuthanandan made a dramatic comeback to the electoral field, thwarting the moves of the rival faction led by Viajayan, which initially managed to keep him off the fray.

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 an untiring crusader against corruption and morality in public life.

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