Pinarayi Vijayan to be Kerala’s next CM

Thiruwananthapuram: The CPI-M decided to name veteran leader Pinarayi Vijayan, son of a toddy tapper, Kerala’s new chief minister, sidelining former chief minister V.S. Achuthanandan.

Party sources said Achuthanandan, 92, was apparently not happy with the decision because he had felt he might get a second chance, at least for a while, before handing over charge to Vijayan, 72.

The two leaders are known to be long-time rivals within the otherwise regimented Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), which led the LDF to a victory in elections to the 140-member assembly.

Pinarayi Vijayan from Pinarayi village in Kannur district, is a member of the Politburo of the Communist Party of India (Marxist). He was Secretary of the Kerala State Committee of the CPI(M) from 1998 to 2015. He was the longest serving secretary in the party’s history. He also served in the government of Kerala as Minister of Electric Power and Cooperatives from 1996 to 1998. Pinarayi Vijayan won the 2016 Kerala legislative assembly election as the CPI(M) candidate from the Dharmadom constituency.

The CPI-M opted for Vijayan at a meeting of the party’s state secretariat chaired by general secretary Sitaram Yechury and attended by his predecessor Prakash Karat, who is known to be close to Vijayan.

A formal announcement is expected to be made later on Friday. Vijayan will be the 22nd chief minister of Kerala.

But the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) exonerated Vijayan in 2013. The Kerala government approached the high court, where the matter is expected to come up next month.

Married to teacher (now retired) T. Kamala, the couple have a son and a daughter who are both professionals.