Velikkakathu Sankaran Achuthanandan, is an Indian politician who has been the twentieth Chief Minister of Kerala state since May 2006. He has also been a member of the Politburo of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI(M)) since 1985. Born on 20 October 1923 to Sankaran and Accamma in Alappuzha district of Kerala state, Achuthanandan had to face poverty from a very early age. He lost his mother when he was four years old and subsequently lost his father at age 11. This forced him to quit his studies after finishing 7th standard in school. He started working by helping his elder brother in a village tailoring shop. Later he took up the job of meshing coir to make ropes at a coir factory. He entered politics through trade union activities and joined State Congress in 1938. In 1940, he became a member of the Communist Party of India (CPI). During his 40 years as a politician he was imprisoned for five years and six months and was in hiding for four and half years. He was a state secretariat member of the CPI in 1957. During the Sino-Indian war in 1962, he was with the nationalists in the party, supporting Indian side. He was demoted in the party rank when he participated in a blood donation camp to help Indian soldiers. He is the only living Keralite among the 32 members who left the CPI National Council in 1964 to form the CPI(M). He is the senior most leader of CPI(M) in Kerala. On May 26, 2007, the CPI(M) suspended Achuthanandan, along with Pinarayi Vijayan, state secretary of CPI(M), from the Politburo for their public remarks on each other. The central committee has approved the Politburo's decision to suspend them. Later the central committee revoked the suspension of VS. Achuthanandan has served many positions in his long political career. He was the Kerala State Secretary of the CPI(M) between 1980 and 1992 and he became a member of the Politburo in 1985. He has also been active in parliamentary politics; he was elected as a member of Kerala Legislative Assembly in 1967, 1970, 1991, 2001 and 2006. He was the Leader of Opposition in the Kerala Legislative Assembly from 1992 to 1996 and from 2001 to 2006. He was the editor of CPI(M) mouth piece in Malayalam, Deshabhimani Daily. During the assembly elections held in Kerala in April-May 2006, VS Achuthanandan defeated Satheesan Pacheeni of the United Democratic Front by a margin of 20,017 votes in Malampuzha constituency in Palakkad district. As a Chief Minister he has succeeded in reviving several public sector units, measures to tackle price rises, reaching an agreement on the Smart City project in Kochi. Initiated action against encroachment on government land in the hill resort and tea plantation town of Munnar. On 30 December 2007, he became the first Communist CM to trail to the 800-year-old hill temple of Sabarimala. The 84-year-old Achuthanandan rejected any sort of physical or medical support as he worried doctors trying to catch up with him while trudging non-stop three hours on foot.V S Achuthandan supports free and open source software movement in the state and Richard Stallman has also supported his activities regarding this.
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