CPM strongman Pinarayi Vijayan is all set to become the next chief minister of Kerala with the party unanimously choosing him over 92-year-old veteran VS Achutanandan, who played a major role in bringing the party back to power in the election.
The decision to nominate Politburo member Vijayan, 72, as the leader of the LDF legislature party was taken at a meeting of the CPI(M) State Secretariat and Committee, a day after LDF trounced the Congress-led UDF bagging 91 seats in the 126-member Assembly.
Announcing the decision, CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury, who attended the meetings, said "the party has decided to propose the name of Pinarayi Vijayan as LDF chief minister."
The time and date of the swearing-in ceremony of the new government, which will be soon, will be decided after consulting other Front partners, he said.
The CPM had to choose Kerala's 22nd chief minister between veteran leader VS Achuthanandan and politburo member Pinarayi Vijayan.
The speculations about Vijayan's nomination emerged after star campaigner and ex chief minister VS Achuthananadan walked out of the key LDF meet.
In a bid to scuttle reports that Achutanandan was reportedly unhappy after he was informed about the Secretariat decision to propose Vijayan's name for the chief minister's post, Yechury met the press flanked by the nonagenarian and Balakrishnan.
Describing Achutanandan as a 'war horse' and likening him to Communist hero Castro, Yechury said the veteran leader will continue to guide and inspire and play that role.
"Comrade VS is like Fidel Castro to Kerala. Like Fidel in Cuba today, advising, guiding, inspiring, Comrade VS will continue that role," he said.
Vijayan, who won the assembly election from Dharmadom in Kannur district with a majority of 36,905 votes, will be the fourth chief minister of CPM.
He is the only politburo member who has been elected to the Assembly this time. He won his Dharamadom seat in Kannur district by 36,905 votes margin against rival Mambaram Divakaran from Congress.
The 72-year-old CPM leader had a brute majority in the state committee and was expected to win if the selection was based on show of hands.
In the 140-member state Assembly, CPM-led LDF won 91 seats, UDF headed by Congress got 47 while BJP and Independents bagged one each.
Soon after the decision to nominate Vijayan to the chief minister's post became known, party workers at AKG Bhavan started celebrating and began distributing sweets.
Congress' Oommen Chandy stepped down on Friday as the chief minister of Kerala.
He took to Facebook to issue a statement upon his resignation.
"We will never blame the people. We failed to reach the people with our achievements. I now wish the new government all the best and expect that all the development projects that they started and which has reached its last stage be quickly completed," Chandy said.
With inputs from agencies
Updated Date: May 20, 2016 18:53 PM