Veteran Communist leader and former Kerala Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan
Veteran Communist leader and former Kerala Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan

Kerala's 'Comrade VS' turns 100

Veteran Communist leader and former Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan, one of the most popular and crowd-puller leaders in the history of the ruling CPI(M) in the state, turned 100 on Friday.

Thiruvananthapuram | Veteran Communist leader and former Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan, one of the most popular and crowd-puller leaders in the history of the ruling CPI(M) in the state, turned 100 on Friday.

Velikkakathu Sankaran Achuthanandan, popularly called as 'Comrade VS' by his admirers, was the founder-leader of CPI(M) after the split from the undivided CPI in 1964.

Though the veteran has been keeping away from public and media glare for quite some time due to age-related issues, the ideals of the iconic leader and the tough stands he has taken on various social and political issues are still a topic of discussion as the party-led government is in power in the southern state.

Party sources said the veteran will spend the day with his family members at his son Arun Kumar's residence here, and visitors won't be allowed to greet him directly on the day considering his health.

Cutting across party and political lines, people from various walks of life greeted the Marxist leader on his 100th birthday.

Governor Arif Mohammed Khan conveyed his "hearty greetings and best wishes" to Achuthanandan over the phone, Kerala Raj Bhavan said.

"My heartiest greetings and best wishes to former Chief Minister Shri #VS Achuthanandan on his 100th birthday.I join the people of Kerala in wishing the beloved & respected people's leader good health &happiness," he said in a post on X.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said Comrade VS was a person who has travelled along with the history of modern Kerala. The role played by leaders, including, VS in transforming the southern state into today's Kerala, is undeniable, he said in a message.

Saying that his interventions in various issues as a people's representative, opposition leader and chief minister was remarkable, Vijayan said Achuthanandan was a leader who had stood with the masses and against their exploitation.

CPI (M) state secretary M V Govindan also extended VS on his 100th birthday.

Born on October 20, 1923 in a working class family in Alappuzha district, Achuthanandan became part of the trade union after ending his formal education at primary level. Joining the Communist movement in his childhood, his life is linked with its history in the state, including the Punnapra-Vayalar uprising, underground activities of the party after it was banned in 1949 following the Calcutta thesis and the formation of the CPI(M) following the split from CPI in 1964. Achuthanandan, who became a CPI(M) politburo member in 1985, headed the CPI(M)-led LDF government in 2006-11, defeating the efforts by his rivals in the party to deny him a chance. He is staying at his son's residence here after ending his tenure as Chairman of the Administrative Reforms Commission.

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