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Protests in Kerala over denial of seat to Achuthanandan
Thiruvananthapuram, Mar 17 (Agencies):
Published on 18 Mar. 2011 12:09 AM IST
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Street protests continued in Kerala Thursday over the denial of a seat to Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan to contest next month’s assembly elections. Amid indications that the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) may rethink its decision, the 87-year-old communist veteran maintained silence on the raging controversy. But his supporters were not restrained. They took to the streets in many places, shouting slogans hailing Achuthanandan.
At his home town Alappuzha, a crowd marched on the streets with a huge cardboard cutout of the chief minister. They included a good number of women who shouted slogans that ‘VS is the pearl of the state’.
In Kasargode, angry supporters late Wednesday night threw cow dung on the poster of Pinarayi Vijayan, the state secretary of the party and a known Achuthanandan rival.
Black flags were placed in front of the houses of Marxist leaders ranged against Achuthanandan in Kasargode. Achuthanandan has not been seen in public since Wednesday night when he left the party headquarters.
Coming to his support was Communist Party of India (CPI) State Secretary C.K. Chandrappan, who said the Left Democratic Front (LDF) would hugely benefit even if Achuthanandan only campaigned for the April 13 election. ‘Even if it is said that the seat has not been given on account of ill-health, there could be other reasons also,’ said Chandrappan, who was the first to hail Achuthanandan when he said this month that he would like to contest if his party fielded him. Those close to Achuthanandan feel that the CPI-M might reverse its decision -- like it did in 2006 when he was first denied a seat to contest and then told to go ahead following mass protests. Those who are really upset are fellow travellers in the age group of above 70 who look upon Achuthanandan as the ‘real Communist’.
Velapally Natesan, supreme head of the powerful Sree Narayana Dharmaparipalana Yogam, the social movement of the Hindu Ezhava community to which Achuthanandan belongs, said it was most unfortunate that a seat was denied to the chief minister. ‘He should have been given a seat. Our community members always get a raw deal,’ said an angry Natesan.
K. Suresh Kumar, state IT secretary and a close aide of Achuthanandan, felt the decision would mark the end of his political career.
‘It is now certain that the strong stand taken by him with regarding eviction of those who illegally government land. No one is going to follow such things again,’ said Kumar. Achuthanandan has held every key post, including convenor of the LDF and leader of opposition.

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