Thiruvananthapuram: Former Kerala Chief
Minister V S Achuthanandan was on Wednesday unanimously elected as
leader of the CPI(M) in the Assembly and to head the 68-member
LDF Opposition in the 140-member House.
Former Home Minister and CPIM) Politburo member Kodiyeri
Balakrishnan was elected deputy leader at the meeting of newly
elected CPI(M) MLAs held at the party`s state headquarters AKG
Centre here, party sources said.
That the 87-year-old veteran would lead LDF was a foregone
conclusion as the party`s central and state leadership
favoured him right from the start, considering his pivotal
role in leading LDF in the Assembly polls in Kerala.
Former ministers A K Balan and M A Baby were elected as the
party`s Assembly wing secretary and whip respectively.
Though the LDF lost power to the Congress-led UDF narrowly
in the polls, Achuthanandan had been credited with denying
the rival a comfortable win.
The spirited campaign mounted by the veteran leader had
greatly helped LDF regain much of its support after it
suffered humiliating defeats in the 2009 Lok Sabha polls and
the multi-tier civic elections last year.
As a result, UDF could bag only 72 seats, just two above
the half-way mark, the most slender margin scored by the
coalition in four decades.
Achuthanandan scored a hat-trick victory from the party
bastion Malampuzha, defeating Lathika Subhash of the Congress
by a huge margin.
He had led the LDF in Opposition from 2001-06, a
politically turbulent phase under the UDF rule.
Despite the factional trends in the party and attempts by
rivals to keep him off the fray, he had led the LDF to victory
in the 2006 Assembly polls.
Before moving to Malampuzha in 2001, Achuthanandan was
elected to the Assembly twice from Ambalappuzha and once from
Mararikkulam in his home district Alappuzha. He was defeated
from Mararikkulam in 1996.