Will continue as ‘sentinel’ of the people of Kerala: VS Achuthanandan

Thiruvananthapuram: V.S. Achuthanandan, former Kerala chief minister and veteran leader of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), or CPM, on Saturday said he would continue to play the role of a “sentinel” of the people of Kerala, a day after the party unanimously nominated Pinarayi Vijayan over him for the chief minister’s post

Achuthanandan, who called a press meeting on Saturday morning to announce that he was stepping down as the opposition leader, refused to be drawn into any matters relating to the selection of CPM politburo member Vijayan as the new Left Democratic Front (LDF) chief minister.

“I will continue as a sentinel of the people of Kerala by upholding the spirit of the Left and taking up people’s issues,” 92-year-old Achuthanandan, a tireless fighter against corruption, told reporters shortly after the chief minister designate paid a courtesy call at his residence.

Achuthanandan, who was the LDF’s face in the campaign during the 16 May assembly polls, evaded questions on whether he had been sidelined. “This is not the time for any such questions. I have called you (the media) as I am formally demitting the office as opposition leader and to thank you for all the support you have given to me,” he said.

Asked about reports that he would be given some top post, he replied, “You know that I don’t expect such things.” The CPM veteran said the people of Kerala expect the LDF to bring out the truth behind the various scams of the previous Congress-led United Development Front (UDF) government.

“People also believe that the new LDF government will put behind bars those involved in the murder of Dalit law student at Perumbavoor in Kochi recently,” Achuthanandan said.

The nonagenarian said he will be very much in the state capital when asked if he would be shifting to his home town in Alappuzha.

In his trademark style, Achuthanandan ended the press conference saying “good bye…good bye…good bye”.

There were reports that Achuthanandan was unhappy at not being anointed as chief minister after being instrumental in giving the front such a resounding victory. He was elected from Malampuzha constituency in Palakkad by a margin of 27,142 votes. The LDF secured 90 seats and Congress-led UDF 47 in the 140-member assembly.

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