Kochi: Veteran Communist VS celebrated his 99th birthday today. Born on 20th October 1923, the former Chief Minister Velikkakathu Sankaran Achuthanandan entered politics through Trade Union activities and joined CPI in 1940.
Achuthanandan, who was incarcerated for over five years and later was underground for more than four years, is one of the surviving leaders who left the CPI National Council in 1964 to form the CPI(M). He was party state secretary for over 10 years from 1980 and 1992 and Leader of Opposition from 1992 to 1996 and from 2001 till 2005. Achuthanandan who won the 1991 assembly election from Mararikulam lost the one in 1996 from Mararikulam which deprived him of the Chief Ministership which subsequently went to E K Nayanar.
This defeat was a lesson for Achuthanandan who learnt more lessons in politics. In 2001 he shifted to Malampuzha and thereafter never tasted defeat in the following polls in 2006, 2011, 2016. VS almost lost the chance of heading a government in 2006 when he was denied a ticket.
It was the Munnar Mission which made him a hero of the masses in 2007 when he carried out a campaign to evict illegal occupants from government land. VS has been keeping away from active politics for the last four years due to age old illness.