V S Achuthanandan turns 89

CPI(M) stalwart and former Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan today turned 89, but the birthday was devoid of celebrations for one of Kerala's most popular leaders of all time.

A stickler to rigorous routine and still active despite advanced years, Achuthanandan woke up sharp at five and after a stroll and doing some 'yoga' went through all available newspapers before deciding on the issues to be taken up for the day.

But for a vegetarian lunch with family members at his residence, for Achuthanandan his 89th birth day was just another day in his decades long public life marked by a series of struggles for the working class.

Once seen as a "doctrinaire" Marxist in the last couple of decades he has also keenly taken up contemporary concerns like ecological issues, rights of women of women and children and exposing corruption in public life.

Born in a family of working class background in Alappuzha district on October 20, 1923, Achuthanandan has come up in politics hard way starting by organising farm hands and factory workers in his home district Alappuzha.

A founder leader of the CPI(M), he has played a vital role in building the party as a mighty political force in Kerala after the split in the undivided CPI in 1964.

Hailed as an "opposition leader for all seasons", he has often been the pivot of the inner-party struggles and has faced disciplinary actions for questioning the official lines.

A few years back he was dropped from the CPI(M) politburo as part of factional trends in the state unit and more recently censured for supporting the agitation against the Kudankulam nuclear plant.

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