Alappuzha (Ker): Senior leader and politburo member Kodiyeri Balakrishnan was on Monday elected as the new CPI-M Kerala unit Secretary at the party state conference.
Deputy Leader of opposition in the state Assembly, Balakrishnan succeeds veteran Pinarayi Vijayan, who had been holding the post for the last 16 years.
61-year old Balakrishnan was elected unanimously on the concluding day of the three-day conference which also nominated 177 delegates for the party Congress to be held in Vishakhapatnam in April.
Though the party decided to have an 88-member State Committee, it kept one seat vacant and elected 87 persons.
Briefing reporters at the conclusion of the session, Balakrishnan said the state conference was a 'great' success. It chalked out agitational programmes against "the wrong economic policies" of central and state governments.
He also said his priority as the party chief would be to broaden the party base further in the state.
"Party has entrusted me with a heavy responsibility. My elevation as the state secretary shows the trust the party and people have in me and I will try my best to keep it upto the mark," he said.
Hailing from the party bastion of Kannur, Balakrishnan entered the party politics through CPI(M)'s student wing Students' Federation of India (SFI).
After becoming the party branch Secretary in Kannur at a younger age, Balakrishnan became a state secretariat member in 1995.
A five-time MLA, he had served as Home and Tourism minister in the previous LDF Government led by VS Achuthanandan during 2006-11.