The CPI-M will on Friday choose Kerala’s 22nd chief minister between veteran leader V.S. Achuthanandan and politburo member Pinarayi Vijayan.
Communist Party of India-Marxist general secretary Sitaram Yechury has already arrived for the meeting of the party’s state committee and his predecessor Prakash Karat will also join the meeting to decide who will lead the state for the next five years.
Vijayan, 72, has a brute majority in the state committee and should the selection be by lifting of hands, he will win hands down.
However, the 92-year-old Achuthanandan was the star campaigner for the party and largely instrumental for its massive win of 91 seats in the 140-member assembly on Thursday and the party will find it hard to find a suitable slot for him if he doesn’t get the nod.
Much of Achuthanandan’s first tenure as chief minister (2006-11) witnessed an embarrassing face-off between the two leaders.
At one point, to cool down tempers, the party’s national leadership booted both of them out of the politburo. While Vijayan was reinstated, Achuthanandan only has the status of an invitee to the central committee.
This apart, there ia a state party resolution before the national leadership demanding action against Achuthanandan for frequently breaching party discipline.