V. S. Achuthanandan – A politician with people's vision


V.S. Achuthanandan is one of the most agreeable politicians in the political arena of Kerala. He was the Chief Minister of the state from 2006 to 2011. During his reign as the executive head of the state, he brought in some landmark reforms to improve the quality of the people of the state. This article will walk you through the life and work of this great personality.

Introduction


Velikkakathu Sankaran Achuthanandan (V. S. Achuthanandan) is a seasoned politician who was the Chief Minister of the state from 2006 to 2011. Currently, he is serving as the Leader of the Opposition in the current assembly. V. S. Achuthanadan is the senior-most member of CPI-M in Kerala. The nonagenarian was the member of the Politburo of Communist Marxist Party of India (CPI-M) from 1995 to 2009. In the year 2009, Acthuthanandan was reverted to the Central Committee of the party on account of his ideological dispositions that were different from the stated stand of the decision-making body of the party. Since he is a man of integrity, this 90-year-old man is respected by all members of the society. Hence, he has become the mass leader. Due to this reason, Achuthanandan cannot be removed from the party despite his antagonist stance. He was one of the founding members of the party who was instrumental in building its rank and file.

Early Life and Political Debut


V.S. Achuthanandan was born on October 20, 1923 to Sankaran and Accamma in Aleppey district of Kerala. He lost his mother at the age of 4 and father at the age of 11. Because of this, young Achuthanandan had to discontinue his studies. He started working by helping his elder brother in his village tailoring shop. Later he worked at a local coir factory. V.S. Achuthanandan made his debut in the political arena by organizing farmers’ protests in Kuttanadu. He did this at the behest of the senior leaders of the communist movement such as A.K. Gopalan and A.V. Kunjambu. Despite his inability to complete the formal education, Achuthanandan used to read a lot and attend the contact classes of the elders with apt attention. During his formative years, young Achuthanandan was noted for his simplicity, dedication and conviction. Looking at the young lad and his abilities, Comrade Krishna Pillai initiated him into the political movement that was sweeping the state.

Achuthanandan and Punnapra-Vayalar Uprising


During the 1940s, there was an uprising against the faulty policies of C.P. Ramaswamy Iyer who wanted to establish the American model in the Travancore state. At that point in time, he was the Diwan of Travancore state. This protest is called as Punnapra-Vayalar uprising and freedom movement. Achuthanandan was at the forefront of the uprising, leading the farmers against the policies that were forced upon them. During this protest, he was arrested in the year 1946 and kept in police custody for a period of five years. While in police custody, Comrade Achuthanandan was beaten up severely by the police in the police lock-up. After the release from the jail, the young comrade continued to be part of this protest. Fearing the police re-arrest and the subsequent torture, he was in secret hideouts of party workers for a period of four years. Achuthanandan’s activities during the Punnapra-Vayalar uprising helped him to gain the people-friendly image amongst the working class of the region

Political Career in CPI


After the Punnapra-Vayalar uprising, he was actively participating in trade union activities to help the poor. Later Achuthanandan joined the State Congress for participating in the National Freedom Movement. After the independence, the young Achuthanandan took the primary membership of the Communist Party of India (CPI). After becoming the CPI party member, he was actively involved in building the rank and file of the party by conducting the contact classes for the benefit of peasants and other lower income groups. V.S. Achuthanandan took the nationalist stand when the country was waging a war against the Peoples Republic of China. He believed in supporting the mother country in that war when a section of the CPI was with China on aggression. Achuthanandan even went to the extent of donating his blood for the wounded soldiers of the country.

Political Career in CPI-M


When the CPI split into two factions, Achuthanandan along with his fellow comrades left the National Council of the party to float a new party. Thus, the Communist Party of India – Marxist (CPI-M) was born in 1964. Being a founder member of CPI-M, he rose through the hierarchy of the party to become its Politburo member. As a humble member of the party, V.S. Achuthanandan has held several positions in the party organization. He was the State Secretary of the party from 1980 to 1992. In 1985, Comrade Achuthanandan was elevated by the party to the national level as its Politburo member. He was also the Chief Editor of the party’s newspaper Deshabhimani for a period of time.

As a successful and influential member, Achuthanandan has actively participated in Parliamentary politics. He was elected to the State Legislative Assembly five times. As a people’s representative, he actively participated in the development of his constituencies. Because of this, Achuthanandan became quite popular amongst the people of his constituencies. He was the Leader of the Opposition in the floor of the house from 1992 to 1996, and from 2001 to 2006.

Major Achievements


V.S. Achuthanandan is a seasoned politician who found his way to the party politics through trade union activities. The nonagenarian is in the field of politics for over 40 years. In this long innings, he has made some landmark contributions that aim at improving the infrastructure facility in the state. They are listed below.

  1. Action against land encroachment: When V.S. Achuthanandan was the Chief Minister, he initiated action against the encroachment of the government properties in many places, especially in Munnar. He ordered the enforcement directorate to take back the revenue land from land mafia.

  2. IT-friendly steps: During his reign, Achuthanandan promoted the open source software in government offices. Apart from this, he took steps to start IT parks in Kollam, Thrissur, Alappuzha and Kozhikode, and invited the software companies to start their new branches there. Achuthanandan also took initiative to expand the existing parks in Thiruvananthapuram and Ernakulam to increase the job opportunities for the youth of the state.

  3. Tourism-boosting measures: To speed up the growth of tourism in the state, Achuthanandan took up the renovation of the Malampuzha reservoir. He also took steps to establish the Kollam – Alappuzha waterway to promote the waterfront and backwater tourism.

  4. Administrative reforms: As an able ruler, Achuthanandan took action against the Lottery Mafia, which had a strong presence in the state. Another feat in his name is the promulgation of an ordinance to the takeover of the Kovalam palace.

  5. Cochin Metro: During his time, the steps were taken to initiate the construction of Metro Rail in Cochin to ease the traffic on the roads of the city. His proposal was shelved by the Central government citing the financial constraints.

  6. Vallarpadam Transshipment Terminal: When Achuthanandan was at the helm of the affairs, the construction of the transshipment hub was completed at Vallarpadam in Ernakulam district of Kerala. As the executive head of the state, he took special interest in the project and got the work expedited to complete the project in time.

Conclusion


V.S. Achuthanandan is a seasoned politician with over 40 years of experience in politics. He is a man of integrity and simplicity. Whenever the principled stand taken by him was against the unethical stand of the decision-making body of the party, the nonagenarian stood the ground to prove his point. He rose through the rank and file of the CPI-M party to become a member of its highest decision-making body. Since he rose from the humble beginnings, Achuthanandan is focused on his work of uplifting the lives of the people.

Moreover, he is considered as the people’s man by the ordinary voters of the state. During his rule, Comrade Achuthanandan brought some landmark administrative changes in the working of government departments. They include the establishments of IT hubs, expansion of existing IT parks, renovation of Malampuzha dam, the stopping of the encroachments of the government land, establishment of Vallarpadam Container Terminal, etc.


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