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Pinarayi Vijayan

Pinarayi Vijayan Indian politician

Indian politician
Pinarayi Vijayan
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro Indian politician
Is Politician
From India
Type Politics
Gender male
Birth 21 March 1944, Pinarayi, Kannur district, Kerala, India
Age: 76 years
Politics Communist Party of India (Marxist)
The details

Biography

Pinarayi Vijayan (Malayalam: പിണറായി വിജയൻ;born 24 May 1945) is an Indian politician who is the current Chief Minister of Kerala, in office since 25 May 2016.

A member of the Politburo of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), he was the longest serving secretary of the Kerala State Committee of the CPI(M) from 1998 to 2015. He also served in the government of Kerala as Minister of Electric Power and Co-operatives from 1996 to 1998. Vijayan won a seat in the May 2016 Kerala Legislative Assembly election as the CPI(M) candidate for Dharmadom constituency and was selected as the leader of the Left Democratic Front (LDF) and became the 12th Chief Minister of Kerala.

Early life and education

Vijayan was born on 24 May 1945 in a poor family in Pinarayi in Malabar district (present-day Kannur District), as the youngest son of Koran and Kalyani. After graduating school, he worked as a handloom weaver for a year before joining for Pre–university course in the Government Brennen College, Thalassery. Subsequently, he completed his degree course from the same college.

Political career

Pinarayi Vijayan entered politics through student union activities at Government Brennen College, Thalassery. He eventually joined the Communist Party of India (Marxist) in 1964. Vijayan became Kannur district secretary of the Kerala Students Federation (KSF), which later became the Students Federation of India (SFI). He went on to become the state secretary and subsequently the state president of KSF. He then moved on to Kerala State Youth Federation (KSYF), which later became the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI). He became the president of the state committee. During that period, when communists in Kerala were organising the political activities from different hide-outs, Pinarayi Vijayan was imprisoned for one and a half years.

Later he was elected as the president of the Kerala state co-operative bank. During the emergency, he was arrested and tortured by police. He became the Kannur district secretary of the CPI(M) when M.V. Raghavan left the party over the ‘alternative document' row. Within three years, he became a member of the State secretariat. He was elected to the Assembly in 1970, 1977 and 1991 from Koothuparamba, in 1996 from Payyannur and in 2016 from Dharmadom. He was the Minister for Electric power and Co-operatives in the E.K. Nayanar ministry from 1996 to 1998. In 1998, he became the state secretary of the CPI(M), following the death of the incumbent Chadayan Govindan. He was elected to the politburo of the CPI(M) in 2002.

On 26 May 2007 the CPI(M) suspended Pinarayi Vijayan and V. S. Achuthanandan from the politburo for their public remarks on each other. Pinarayi was reinstated into the Politburo later.

Chief Minister

Pinarayi Vijayan was selected by the CPI(M) as Chief Minister of Kerala in May 2016, following the 2016 Legislative Assembly election. Vijayan was selected as the leader of Left Democratic Front government. He was sworn in on 25 May 2016 in front of a large number of party workers, along with his 19-member cabinet. Vijayan also holds the charge of Home Affairs & Vigilance Departments along with the other portfolios normally held by the Chief Ministers, and not mentioned elsewhere. He is elected from Dharmadom constituency. During his reign he introduced various schemes like Haritha Keralam Mission, Project LIFE, Ardram Mission and Comprehensive Education Reforms. For the first time in India an all-woman police squad called Pink Patrol was introduced in Kerala to ascertain the security of women and children in public places.

Positions held

  • State president and secretary of Kerala Student's Federation and president of Kerala State Youth Federation.
  • President of Kerala State Co-operative Bank
  • Elected to Kerala Legislative Assembly in 1970, 1977, 1991, 1996 and 2016.
  • Minister in Kerala government between 1996 and 1998.
  • Secretary of the Kerala state committee of the CPI(M) between 1998 and 2015.
  • Member of the CPI(M) politburo from 2002.
  • Chief Minister of Kerala from 25 May 2016
Election Victories
Year Constituency Closest rival Majority (votes)
1970 Koothuparamba Thayath Raghavan (PSP) 743
1977 Koothuparamba Abdulkadar (RSP) 4,401
1991 Koothuparamba P. Ramakrishnan (INC) 12,960
1996 Payyannur K. N. Kannoth (INC) 28,078
2016 Dharmadom Mambaram Divakaran (INC) 36,905

Personal life

He is married to Kamala Vijayan and has two children, Veena and Vivek. His wife is a retired teacher. Their son works in HSBC bank, in Abu Dhabi and daughter is in Bangalore, India where she manages a web startup. The family resides in the official residence of the Chief Minister at Trivandrum.

Controversies

  • The SNC Lavalin controversy in Kerala was a major allegation that rocked Kerala politics. The Comptroller and Auditor General of India report had stated that the deal Vijayan had struck as electricity minister in 1998 with Lavalin, a Canadian firm, for the repair of three generators, had cost the state exchequer a staggering Rs 375 crores. On 16 January 2007, Kerala High Court ordered a CBI enquiry into the SNC Lavalin case. There are also reports that the CAG did not report any losses to state exchequer, but that the project did not yield commensurate gains. On 21 January 2009, CBI filed a progress report on the investigation in the Kerala high court. Pinarayi Vijayan had been named as the 9th accused in the case. CPI(M) backed Pinarayi saying that the CBI move was "politically motivated". Party viewed the implication of Pinarayi in the case is to settle scores with the CPM after the party withdrew its support to the UPA government. The CPM led Kerala Government decided not to let Vijayan to be prosecuted in the case. Over-ruling the cabinet recommendation, the Governor allowed CBI to prosecute Vijayan based on prima facie evidence. Though CPI(M) called Governor's move un-constitutional, then Kerala Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan said there is nothing surprising or wrong in Governor's decision. On 5 November 2013, the CBI special court discharged Pinarayi Vijayan and the others accused from the list of accused in the SNC-Lavalin Case. The court has allowed a plea made by Pinarayi Vijayan asking his name to be removed from the list of accused in the case. The court held that there isn't any proof of dishonest and fraudulent intentions, abuse of official position and cheating.
  • On 16 February 2007 the airport security in Chennai Airport recovered five bullets from Vijayan's baggage. The Chennai airport security let him off after receiving a faxed copy of his license.
  • As CPI(M) state secretary, Pinarayi Vijayan demanded that the Catholic Church in Kerala withdraw a controversial pastoral letter. The letter recommended a "liberation struggle" on the lines of the one in the 1950s to liberate the education sector in Kerala from state control, so that the management could charge fees and capitation without government intervention.
  • On 16 October 2007, Pinarayi called Paul Chitilapally, the bishop of Thamarassery in Kerala, a "wretched creature". He was speaking at a memorial remembrance of Mathai Chacko, MLA from Thamarassery and a CPI(M) member. He said "A lie is a lie, and just because it is uttered by a bishop it does not become a holy lie." Later, the Roman Catholic Church in Kerala was up in arms against the CPI(M) leadership for his comments against the bishop. However, he repeated the same and stuck to his comments. This led to heated discussion among the Catholic community across the state to protest against his speech by closing all educational institutions run by the church.
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