By K Raveendran
The affable C Achutha Menon, heading a coalition CPI-Congress ministry in the seventies, is widely rated as Kerala’s best chief minister ever, despite the obnoxious tag of Emergency attached to his ministry. While VS Achuthanandan is an all-time popular chief minister, whose public support, particularly among the youth, has been the envy of any politician, his party always breathed down his neck, according him little space to perform as he wished. So, when Pinrayi Vijayan was sworn in as chief minister in May last year, heading a ministry that enjoyed overwhelming majority, it was expected that he would better the record of all his predecessors. For, he had everything in his favour.
The party and the government were solidly in the hands of the same leadership; so there was no issue of fetters imposed from outside. He had a formidable administrative track record as the Electricity minister in the E K Nayanar ministry, during which time the state’s power sector made great strides. Incidentally it was during his stint as minister that he got involved in the SNC Lavalin case, which kept him away from active parliamentary politics for a long time until thee court exonerated him of any blame in a deal that spanned the tenures of different power ministers. T he final verdict, which was pronounced by the high court recently, had given a few anxious moments, but in the end everything went his way. And as a no-nonsense man who always meant business with a trade mark straight face, he was not swayed by anything that he considered below par.