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Touching tale of two leaders now cooling their heels

Touching tale of two leaders now cooling their heels

Thiruvananthapuram: For the past more than a decade, these two Kerala politicians were the most busiest, travelling all across the state, but today, with a change in government, they are now cooling their heels.

They are both former chief ministers, besides being former leaders of opposition, but today they are relegated to be mere legislators.

They are 92-year-old V.S. Achuthanandan of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) and 72-year- old Oommen Chandy of the Congress.

Achuthanandan's busy period started in 2001 when he was leader of the opposition, till 2006 after which he became the chief minister. From 2011 till last month he was again the leader of the opposition.

Similarly, Chandy became chief minister, replacing A.K. Antony in 2004 and from 2006 till 2011 he was leader of the opposition. For the next five years till last month, he was again chief minister.

Achuthanandan expected a tenure for leading the Left front's winning campaign in the assembly polls, the results of which were declared on May 19 this year. But, after the job was done, he was asked to make way for 71-year-old arch party rival Pinarayi Vijayan.

Similarly, Chandy who was expecting to be rewarded again by creating history of returning to power, but the voters thought otherwise and the Congress-led UDF suffered one of its worst electoral reverses.

Taking moral responsibility for the defeat, Chandy decided against taking the post of leader of the opposition and opted to remain as an ordinary legislator.

And when the assembly meets for its first full business session, two former chief ministers will be watching proceedings from the front row.

Both Achuthanandan and Chandy have now moved out of their official residences. While the former has taken a rented home in the capital city, the latter now resides in his own home here.

Also, the Speaker of the new assembly, P. Sreeramakrishnan, personally telephoned the two veterans and allotted them two spacious flats at the legislators' hostel from where their office will function.

In Kerala politics, five years is all you get.

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