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V. S. Achuthanandan
Achuthanandan in 2006
11th Chief Minister of Kerala
In office
18 May 2006 (2006-05-18) – 14 May 2011 (2011-05-14)
Preceded byOommen Chandy
Succeeded byOommen Chandy
4th Chairman of the Kerala Administrative Reforms Commission
In office
3 August 2016 (2016-08-03) – 30 January 2021 (2021-01-30)
Preceded byE. K. Nayanar[1]
Member of the Politburo of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
In office
29 December 1985 (1985-12-29) – 12 June 2009 (2009-06-12)
Leader of the Opposition in Kerala Niyamasabha
In office
18 May 2011 (2011-05-18) – 25 May 2016 (2016-05-25)
Preceded byOommen Chandy
Succeeded byRamesh Chennithala
In office
17 May 2001 (2001-05-17) – 12 May 2006 (2006-05-12)
Preceded byA. K. Antony
Succeeded byOommen Chandy
In office
1 March 1992 (1992-03-01) – 9 May 1996 (1996-05-09)
Preceded byE. K. Nayanar
Succeeded byA. K. Antony
Secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), Kerala State Committee
In office
1980 (1980)–1992 (1992)
Preceded byE. K. Nayanar
Succeeded byE. K. Nayanar
Member of the Kerala Legislative Assembly
In office
2001 (2001)–2021 (2021)
In office
1991 (1991)–1996 (1996)
In office
1967 (1967)–1977 (1977)
Personal details
Velikkakathu Sankaran Achuthanandan

(1923-10-20) 20 October 1923 (age 100)
Alleppey, Kingdom of Travancore, British India
(present day Alappuzha, Kerala, India)
Political partyCommunist Party of India (Marxist)
Residence(s)Punnapra North, Kerala Thiruvananthapuram

Velikkakathu Sankaran Achuthanandan (born 20 October 1923), popularly known by his initials V. S., is an Indian politician who was the Chief Minister of Kerala from 2006 to 2011. At 82, he was the oldest person to have assumed the office. He is affiliated to the Communist Party of India (Marxist). He served as the chairman of Administrative reforms in Kerala with state cabinet rank from 2016 to 2021. He has served as Leader of the Opposition for 15 years which makes him the longest serving Leader of the Opposition in Kerala Legislative Assembly.

Achuthanandan was a member of the CPI(M) Politburo from 1985 until July 2009, when he was reverted to the Central Committee of the party owing to his ideological dispositions.[2]

Achuthanandan initiated various actions as the Chief Minister, including the demolition drive in Munnar which claimed back acres of illegally occupied land,[3] the demolition drive in Kochi M. G. Road which claimed back the long lost shoulder of the road, anti-piracy drive against film-piracy, his struggle against the Lottery mafia in the state. He was instrumental in convicting former minister R. Balakrishna Pillai on charges of corruption.[4][5] Achuthanandan also took the lead in promoting free software in the state, and especially in adopting free software in the public education system of the state.[6]

VS at NGO state meet 2012 in Kollam

Early life

Born on 20 October 1923 to Sankaran and Accamma in Punnapra, Alappuzha, Travancore (part of present-day Kerala state, India), he lost his mother when he was four years old and subsequently lost his father at the age of 11. This forced him to quit his studies after finishing 7th standard in school.[7] He started working by helping his elder brother in a village tailoring shop. Later he took up the job of meshing coir to make ropes at a coir factory.[8][9]

Achuthanandan was in the forefront of the land struggles in Kerala starting with the Alappuzha declaration in 1970 demanding implementation of the Land Reforms Act passed by the EMS Government in 1967. Later his activities as the leader of the Opposition in the Kerala Assembly had evoked good public response.[10][11]

Political life

He entered politics through trade union activities and joined State Congress in 1938. In 1940, he became a member of the Communist Party of India (CPI). During his 40 years as a politician he was imprisoned for five years and six months and was in hiding for four and half years. He was a state secretariat member of the CPI in 1957.[12] He is the only living among the 32 members who left the CPI National Council in 1964 to form the Communist Party of India (Marxist) .[13] He was the Secretary of the Kerala State Committee between 1980 and 1992. He was a member of the CPI(M) Polit Bureau since 1985 until he was removed as a party disciplinary action. He is the senior most leader of CPI(M) in India.[14]

Election Constituency Result Margin
1965 Ambalappuzha Lost 2327
1967 Ambalappuzha Won 9515
1970 Ambalappuzha Won 2768
1977 Ambalappuzha Lost 5585
1991 Mararikulam Won 9980
1996 Mararikulam Lost 1965
2001 Malampuzha Won 4703
2006 Malampuzha Won 20017
2011 Malampuzha Won 23340
2016 Malampuzha Won 27142

Chief Minister of Kerala (2006-2011)

See also: Achuthanandan ministry

Achuthanandan meeting with then Prime Minister of India, Manmohan Singh in New Delhi (2007)

During the assembly elections held in Kerala in April–May 2006, VS Achuthanandan defeated Satheesan Pacheeni of the United Democratic Front by a margin of 20,017 votes in Malampuzha constituency in Palakkad district. He was sworn in as Chief Minister of Kerala on 18 May 2006, with his 21-member cabinet. Aged 82 years and 7 months at time, he was the oldest Chief Minister of Kerala, and one of the oldest in the whole of India. It is noticeable that he had been denied a party ticket to contest elections just two months before he was sworn in. He became the 11th Chief Minister of Kerala. On 12 July 2009, the CPI(M) Polit bureau and Central Committee removed him from the PB for his stands taken in relation to the accusation and legal procedures against Pinarayi Vijayan in his reported involvement in the Lavlin bribery.[15]

2011 Assembly election

The 2011 Kerala Legislative Assembly election, proved to be one of the closest in Kerala's history, with the UDF beating the LDF by a margin of 4 seats. After this election, Achuthanandan was considered the man behind the Uprising of LDF after the 2009 Parliament and 2010 Municipal election losses.[16] The CPI(M) denied a seat to Achuthanandan for the 2011 assembly election. Protests took place across the state and even on social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook and via SMS.[17][18] In what can be considered as a near repeat of the 2006 pre-election build-up, the Politbureau of CPI-M impressed upon the state leadership to permit VS Achuthanandan to contest elections for the April 2011 Assembly election in Kerala.[19] VS Achuthanandan contested from the Malampuzha Constituency and won with a margin of around 25,000 votes.

Removal of personal staff

On 12 May 2013, three of his personal staff V.K. Sasidharan (additional private secretary), A. Suresh (personal assistant) and K. Balakrishnan (press secretary) were ousted by the Politburo, which was entrusted by the CPI(M) central committee to decide on the action to be taken against them. They were expelled on charges of leaking information to media, according to CPI(M).[20] With the decision, Achuthanandan's arch-rival and Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI(M)) state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan appears to have won. The state committee of the party where Vijayan has a huge majority also wanted Achuthanandan to be removed from the post of leader of opposition but this was not done. "This is a clipping of the wings of Achuthanandan", said K.M. Shahjahan.[21]

2016 Assembly elections

Achuthanandan was appointed Chairman of the Administrative Reforms Commission on 3 August 2016.[22]

Statement on Islamization of Kerala

In 2010, The 86-year-old CPI (M) veteran, while talking to reporters in New Delhi on Saturday, said the Popular Front, under scanner for chopping off the hand of a college lecturer, was indulging in communal and divisive activities with the aim of turning Kerala into a Muslim majority state.[23][24][25]

Major achievements

International Container Transshipment Terminal, Kochi

In 2006, under the leadership of Achuthanandan government decided to develop and operate an International Container Transshipment Terminal (ICTT), Vallarpadam. Though it is a central government project, Achuthanandan government has taken strong steps to take over land required for road and rail lines for the project. The International Container Transshipment Terminal, Kochi was inaugurated on 11 February 2011, it is the first transshipment terminal in India and the first container terminal to operate in a SEZ.[26][27]

Design of Technopark Phase 2, Kollam

The Technopark in Kollam was initiated, planned and constructed during Achuthanandan government. The plan for setting up the first district IT park in Kerala at Kollam was announced in January 2009.[28] The Foundation stone was laid by Achuthanandan in February 2009.[29] The park was set up expecting employment to the tune of 20,000 and investments of 800 crores. The first phase of park was inaugurated by Achuthanandan on February 15, 2011.[30]

Infopark, Cherthala
Infopark, Kochi

In 2009, Achuthanandan ministry started the work of Infopark Cherthala in Alappuzha. The project was inaugurated by Achuthanandan on 10 January 2011.[31][32] With the state's IT sector witnessing a phenomenal growth, it has become necessary to expand Infopark, Kochi, to the satellite towns of the city. Infrastructure development at the IT parks at Infopark Cherthala, Infopark Ambalappuzha and InfoPark Thrissur, which are the satellite units of Infopark, Kochi, were progressing fast. Achuthanandan laid the foundation stone of the second phase of Infopark at Kakkanad. The project is developed on 160 acres.

Kannur International Airport

In 2008, Achuthanandan government proposed an International airport in Mattannur, Kannur. Two years later, Achuthanandan laid the foundation stone for the Kannur International Airport at the project site marking the formal commencement of construction activities on 17 December 2010 at a function attended by the then Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel.[33]

In 2008, Achuthanandan government approved the Kochi Metro rail project in a cabinet meeting held on 2 January 2008 and sent to Central Government for ratification.[34]

The drive to reclaim paddy land

The anti-reclamation stir launched by the Kerala State Karshaka Thozhilali Union (KSKTU) at Mankompu in 1996–97, under the leadership of Achuthanandan created much controversy. This stir was claimed to be highlighting the serious problem of the massive conversion of paddy fields into another type of land, affecting the food security of Kerala. But this soon developed into a crop destruction drive. The protest got the sobriquet following the violent methods and crop destruction resorted to by the KSKTU cadre. The stir attracted lot of public attention and Achuthanandan was forced to express his disapproval of any destruction of crops. 15 years later, in November 2011, a UDF Minister, who is politically opposed to Achuthanandan, justified this struggle.[40] Janata Dal Socialist leader and minister for Agriculture, K.P. Mohananan said such a struggle was necessary as conversion of paddy fields to another type of crops is a serious concern.[citation needed]

Personal life

On 20 October 2023, he turned 100 years old, making him a centenarian.[41]

In popular culture



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See also


  1. ^ "3rd Kerala ARC".
  2. ^ "CPM drops VS from Politburo". The Indian Express. 12 July 2009. Retrieved 29 October 2011.
  3. ^ "Kerala govt cleans up Munnar for tourists". DNA. 10 May 2007. Retrieved 29 October 2011.
  4. ^ Iyer, V. R. Krishna (19 February 2011). "Jail for one corrupt politician". The Hindu. Retrieved 29 October 2011.
  5. ^ "V.S. Achuthanandan vs R. Balakrishna Pillai on 13 May 1994". Retrieved 29 October 2011.
  6. ^ "Government will popularise free software, says Achuthanandan". The Hindu. 22 August 2006. Archived from the original on 12 October 2007. Retrieved 29 October 2011.
  7. ^ "Shri V. S. Achuthanandan, heavily Criticized by his own party for donating blood to indian soldiers during indo china war Profile". Archived from the original on 3 April 2013. Retrieved 19 October 2013.
  8. ^ "V S Achuthanandan: No movies for 30 years, no school beyond Class 7, his first job was weaving coir mat". The Indian Express. India. 14 May 2006.
  9. ^ "Profile of Achuthanandan". Archived from the original on 27 September 2010. Retrieved 3 November 2011.
  10. ^ "V.S Achuthanandan". Archived from the original on 14 May 2014. Retrieved 22 May 2013.
  11. ^ "Untitled Document". Archived from the original on 14 May 2014. Retrieved 22 May 2013.
  12. ^ "During China war, comrades cracked down on VS for saying let's give blood to jawans". The Indian Express. 14 July 2009.
  13. ^ Nair, C. Gouridasan (21 March 2016). "The man of the masses". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 5 April 2019.
  14. ^ "As VS Achuthanandan Turns 97, Communist Colossus from Kerala Remains The Quintessential Survivor". News18. 20 October 2020. Retrieved 12 August 2021.
  15. ^ "Kerala CM Achuthanandan removed from CPM politburo". The Economic Times. 12 July 2009. Retrieved 5 April 2019.
  16. ^ "UDF wins Kerala, but loses to Achuthanandan". ZEE News. 13 May 2011.
  17. ^ "Achuthanandan not contesting in the election". The Hindu. India. 27 March 2011. Archived from the original on 21 March 2011.
  18. ^ [user-generated source]
  19. ^ "CPM drops, takes back warhorse Achuthanandan". The Indian Express. India. 18 March 2011.
  20. ^ Manorama Online | English News | Kerala Archived 29 June 2013 at
  21. ^ Three close aides of Achuthanandan thrown out of CPI-M | Business Standard
  22. ^ C. Gouridasan Nair, "V.S. Achuthanandan to head Kerala Administrative Reforms Commission", The Hindu, 3 August 2016.
  23. ^ "PFI wants Kerala to be Muslim-majority state: VS". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 9 November 2023.
  24. ^ Menon, Nandagopal R. (27 September 2023). "Imagined Kerala". Economic and Political Weekly. 45 (34): 22–25. JSTOR 25741993.
  25. ^ "Achuthanandan stands by 'Islamisation' comment, Vijayan supports". Zee News. 27 July 2010. Retrieved 9 November 2023.
  26. ^ "DP World Kochi poised to grow its capacity". Gulf News. 8 February 2016. Retrieved 16 October 2017.
  27. ^ "Tenders for consultants for Colachel port by March". India Today. 17 February 2016. Retrieved 16 October 2017.
  28. ^ "Kerala's first district IT park to come up at Kollam". 27 February 2009. Archived from the original on 27 February 2009. Retrieved 5 February 2021.
  29. ^ Reporter, B. S. (7 January 2009). "Government allots land for Kollam Technopark". Business Standard India. Retrieved 5 February 2021.
  30. ^ "Kollam Technopark inauguration on February 15". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 15 April 2020.
  31. ^ Staff reporter (10 January 2011). "Alappuzha gets on the IT bandwagon". The Hindu. Retrieved 26 August 2017.
  32. ^ "Infopark Cherthala may be Ready by January - - Techies News, Jobs, Events & Lifestyle!". - Techies News, Jobs, Events & Lifestyle!. 29 November 2010. Retrieved 24 August 2020.
  33. ^ "VS lays foundation stone for Kannur international airport". The Hindu. 17 December 2010 – via
  34. ^ "Rs 3000 crore Kochi Metro rail project approved". 2 January 2008.
  35. ^ govt. to deal sternly with Munnar encroachers The Hindu dated 23Jan2010
  36. ^ Munnar’s illegal constructions to be demolished Archived 7 June 2010 at the Wayback Machine Thaindian dated 30 January 2010
  37. ^ "Yahoo Search - Web Search". Archived from the original on 5 January 2008.
  38. ^ "Kerala logs on to free software". Business Standard. 26 February 2013. Retrieved 8 June 2023.
  39. ^ "അനധികൃത ഭൂമി; മനോരമയ്ക്ക് കനത്ത തിരിച്ചടി".
  40. ^ malayalam news-kp mohanan sopports vs strike
  41. ^ Philip, Shaju (20 October 2023). "100 not out: Comrade V S Achuthanandan's long march". Indian Express. Retrieved 21 October 2022.

Further reading

Preceded byOommen Chandy Chief Minister of Kerala 2006 – 2011 Succeeded byOommen Chandy