Former Kerala Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan was on Wednesday unanimously elected as leader of the CPI-M in the assembly. Achuthanandan will also head the 68-member Left Democratic Front opposition in the 140-member house.
Former home minister and CPI-M politburo member, Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, was elected deputy leader at the meeting of newly elected CPI-M members of legislative assembly held at the party's state headquarters in Thiruvananthapuram.
It was expected that the 87-year-old veteran would lead the LDF, as the party's central and state leadership favoured him right from the start, said party sources. 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 United Democratic Front by a small margin, 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 a humiliating defeat in the 2009 Lok Sabha polls and the multi-tier civic elections last year.
The 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 Malampuzha, defeating Lathika Subhash of the Congress by a huge margin.
Despite the factional trends in the party and attempts by rivals to keep him off the fray, he 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.