Known as a taskmaster and an organisation man to the core, 72-year-old Pinarayi Vijayan emerged as his party’s choice to lead the state government. In the process he pipped out mass leader and veteran VS Achutanandan. Before ascending to the top post, Vijayan led the CPI (M) for 16 years stepping down from the post last year.
Known as the man of few words, he proved his organisational capability in the state during his stint as the party chief.
Vijayan also proved his mettle as an able administrator during his short stint as power minister in the LDF ministry headed by late EK Nayanar during the period 1996-1998. During his tenure, the state witnessed a giant leap in power generation and distribution capacities due to the productive measures taken by him as a minister.
Born on March 21, 1944, the 72-year-old leader tasted his first political waters as the Kannur district secretary of the Kerala Students Federation while studying for BA (Economics) in Brennen College.
He later went on to become the state president of the KSF and in 1968, at the age of 24, Vijayan even found a place in the Kannur district committee of the CPI (M). Two years later he won his first electoral battle from Koothuparambu becoming MLA at the age of 26.
Vijayan was subsequently elected to the state Legislative Assembly three times later in 1977, 1991 and 1996. He rose to prominence when he won in 1977 and again in 1991 from the same constituency. With better grip on the party, he became the CPI (M) district secretary in Kannur in 1978.
Pinarayi Vijayan also took part in various agitations, and was even jailed during the Emergency. After his release, he came to the Assembly and made a powerful speech holding up the blood stained shirt he wore during the assault on him in the police lock-up.
His speech attacking then Home Minister and senior Congress leader late K Karunakaran was considered to be a glorious chapter in the legislative papers.
(With inputs from the PTI)