Former Kerala Chief Minister and one of India’s tallest Communist leaders, V.S. Achuthanandan, failed to cast his vote on Tuesday for the first time in state Assembly elections.
The 97-year-old, who is a sitting legislator from Malampuzha in Palakkad district, is now staying at his son’s residence in the state capital, while his vote is at his home at the Ambalapuzha Assembly constituency in Alappuzha district.
Following some technical issues, he and his wife were unable to register for postal voting and on Tuesday, his health condition was not suitable for the three-hour journey to his home and hence, he could not cast his vote. However, his son and other family members went and cast their votes at Amabalapuzha.
After the Covid pandemic struck, Achuthanandan has been rarely seen in public domain, with visitors kept at bay.
In the 2016 Assembly polls, he, as the Leader of Opposition, was the one who led the Left’s campaign but after their victory, Pinarayi Vijayan became Chief Minister.
Achuthanandan was given the title of ‘Kerala Castro’ and was made Chairman of the Administrative Reforms Commission – a post which was created for him and came with cabinet status.
A seven-time legislator, Achuthanandan recently resigned from the post, vacated his official residence and started living with his son.
In the poll campaign this time around, he failed to make a single public appearance, nor was his picture seen in any poster, with only Vijayan’s images predominating.
In a political career that began in the 1940s, Achuthanandan first became a legislator in 1967 from Alappuzha district, the then fortress of the Communist movement, but when he was all set to become the Chief Minister in 1996, he suffered the worst-ever jolt in his political career by losing the Assembly elections.
However, it was only after his loss, his stock as a politician rose hugely and he went on to become the biggest crowd puller in Kerala politics.
In 2006, he led the Left to victory and became Chief Minister, but in the 2011 poll, he almost created history by retaining power, but the Oommen Chandy-led UDF scrapped through, with a thin margin of just two seats.