Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan is someone who does not partake of the mass appeal of his more popular colleague and party veteran VS Achuthanandan, but is known for his excellent administrative skills and shrewd political acumen.
He is the one who is said to actually run the Marxist show in Kerala and that too with an iron grip. Not known to have an approachable personality as that of the outgoing CM Oommen Chandy who relished the presence of the masses all round the clock, the next Chief Minister of Kerala could well turn out to be another ‘Amma’ Jayalalitha who is reputed to ferociously keep the media at bay.
The days of mass contact programmes and daily petitions made popular by the previous regime could well be over, as the state party leadership under him is known to stick to cryptic media interactions, preferring to keep its cards close to the chest.
Born into a toddy-tapper’s family at the village of ‘Pinaryi’ in Kannur on March 1944, Vijayan is the younger son of Mundayil Koran and Kalyani. It is the name of his birthplace that now serves as a prefix -to his name- one that has become so synonymous with the man that he is known as Pinarayi in political circles as well as among the masses.
Kannur being the hotbed of state politics, Pinarayi had his exposure to reported government atrocities at a very young age, thereby initiating him into the communist movement much before his adolescence.
He completed his schooling from the Sharada Vilasam LP school and Peralasery Government High school. After working for a year as a handloom weaver, he went on to do his pre-degree and degree from Thalassery’s Government Brennen College where he was actively involved in student politics.
Here’s a brief timeline of major events in his political life:
- In 1964, he was elected as the Kannur district general secretary of the Kerala Students’ Federation (KSF), the forerunner of the present Students Federation of India (SFI).
- In 1967, elected as the CPI(M) secretary of Thalassery constituency.
- In 1968, elected to the party’s Kannur district committee.
- 1n 1970, elected as MLA at the age of 26 from Koothuparambu constituency in Kannur.
- In 1972, became a member of the party’s district secretariat.
- Was imprisoned for 18 months during Emergency (1975-77) which saw him being beaten up by the police.
- In 1977, elected for the second time as MLA from Koothuparambu.
- In 1978, elected to the CPI(M) state committee.
- In 1986, took over as CPI(M) Kannur district secretary.
- In 1989, elected to the party’s state secretariat.
- In 1991, third-time MLA from Koothuparambu.
- In 1996, sworn in as state Power Minister in the EK Nayanar ministry.
- In 1998, took over as state party secretary following the death of incumbent Chadayan Govindan.
- In 2002, elected as party politburo member.
- In 2005, 2008 & 2012 elected as party state secretary once again.
- In 2015, after 17 long years as state party secretary, made way for Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, while he was re-elected to the party politburo.
- In 2016, contested yet again as MLA, this time from Dharmadom constituency and won by a margin of 36,905 votes.
Pinarayi is married to Kamala and has two children Veena and Vivek.
All pictures from Pinarayi Vijayan's website.