By Amiya Kumar Kushwaha
Palakkad (Kerala) [India], March 27 (ANI): Communist Party of India (Marxist) CPI(M) veteran leader and former Kerala Chief Minister VS Achuthanandan, a nonagenarian who has remained a star campaigner and crowd puller for decades, is not campaigning for the upcoming state elections due to his deteriorating health.
Malampuzha is a strong fort of CPI (M) since the inception of the party in the state and Achuthanandan, who is not contesting the upcoming polls, is the current legislator here and has been serving as Malampuzha's public representative since 2001.
Achuthanandan won his fourth consecutive term from Malampuzha in 2016 with a margin of 27,000 votes.
CPI (M) party workers of the constituency said that it is due to his age that Achuthanandan is not active in the public realm. However, they said that despite his absence, the election campaigning has been going on with the same intensity.
"VS Achuthanandan lives in our heart, though he is not here, it does not matter. We all respect him. The common people will never forget his contribution to the state," said Girish, a party worker.
Another party worker, Shiv Prasad, said he has high regard for the former Kerala chief minister. "Kerala's politics does not give undue importance to leader-centric politics, the party machinery is strong here. The MLA is doing his duty of taking the development schemes to people but it is a group effort where the party stands beside the legislator."
"VS is the MLA of this constituency and he is not here now. But we all think of ourselves as VS and do propaganda for Prabhakaran. VS is in our hearts," said Satish, a party worker.
"CPI(M) is not a party of any particular person. We have high regard for seniors but there is no lack of enthusiasm in the campaigning without VS. The public is giving a good response to the campaign and we are determined to maintain our stronghold, Malampuzha under the leadership of A Prabhakaran," another party worker said.
Even though the 97-year-old is not campaigning, his posters have been spotted in the constituency.
CPM has fielded trade union leader Prabhakaran, from the Malampuzha assembly constituency. BJP is also pumping in a lot of hope and campaigning hard to give a jolt to CPM in their strong fort. BJP state general secretary C Krishnakumar, who has come second in the last Assembly elections, by garnering 46,157 votes, is contesting in Malampuzha. BJP has performed well in the local civic election here.
SK Ananthakrishnan, who also comes from a trade union background, is contesting as the Congress candidate in Malampuzha.
The election for the 140-member Kerala assembly in 14 districts will be held in a single phase on April 6. The counting of votes will take place on May 2. (ANI)