After a brief battle for turf, Achuthanandan went on to become the CM. But six months into power, he is a shadow of the man he was during his election campaign. The 83-year-old Comrade VS is, according to CPI(M) insiders, a leader under siege. Pushed to a corner by a powerful faction in his own party. Distrusted by many of in the rank and file. Unsure of support from the central leadership. And constantly being reminded by the media that he is failing to deliver on his promises. Such are the pressures and expectations from Achuthanandan’s famed strongman image has taken a severe beating. Even his sympathisers have begun to wonder at the change that has come over him after assuming office.
Much of Achuthanandan’s troubles come from one quarter—the powerful CPI(M) state secretary, Pinarayi Vijayan. The two have never seen eye-to-eye; Achuthanandan’s becoming CM has only intensified their tussle. Jocularly referred to as a snake-and-mongoose fight, the power struggle between the two threatens to corrode the very credibility of the state’s Left government.