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Pinarayi Vijayan, Kerala's Next Chief Minister

The CPI-M on Friday decided to name veteran leader Pinarayi Vijayan, son of a toddy tapper, Kerala's new Chief Minister, sidelining former Chief Minister VS Achuthanandan. Party sources said Achuthanandan, 92, was apparently not happy with the decision because he had felt he might get a second chance, at least for a while, before handing over charge to Vijayan, 72.

The two leaders are known to be long-time rivals within the otherwise regimented Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), which led the LDF to a victory in elections to the 140-member Assembly. The CPI-M opted for Vijayan at a meeting of the party's state secretariat chaired by general secretary Sitaram Yechury and attended by his predecessor Prakash Karat, who is known to be close to Vijayan.

He will be the 22nd chief minister of Kerala. Vijayan, who hails from Pinarayi village in Kannur district, got associated with the CPI-M during his student days. His mentor in the CPI-M was the legendary AK Gopalan. At age 24, he was inducted into the Kannur district committee of the CPI-M.

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