Pinarayi Vijayan

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Pinarayi Vijayan
Secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) Kerala State Committee
Assumed office
Preceded by Chadayan Govindan
Member of the Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
Assumed office
Minister of Electric power and Co-operatives Kerala state
In office
Personal details
Born (1944-03-21) March 21, 1944 (age 70)
Pinarayi, Kannur district
Political party Communist Party of India (Marxist)CPI-M-flag.svg
Spouse(s) Kamala
Children Veena & Vivek
Residence Pinarayi, Kerala
Religion Atheist

Pinarayi Vijayan (Malayalam: പിണറായി വിജയൻ) is an Indian politician and a former minister of Kerala State, South India. He is currently a politburo member and the state secretary of Kerala State Committee of Communist Party of India (Marxist) CPI(M).

Early life and education[edit]

He was born on 21 March 1944 in a poor family in Pinarayi in Kannur district.[1] He is married to Kamala and has two children, Veena & Vivek. After passing out of school, he worked as a handloom weaver for a year before joining for Pre – University course in the Government Brennen College, Thalassery. Later he completed degree course from there.[2]

Political career[edit]

Pinarayi Vijayan entered politics through student union activities and eventually joined the Communist Party in 1964. He was president and secretary of the Kerala Student's Federation (KSF) and also served as the president of Kerala State Youth Federation (KSYF). 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 the president of the Kerala state co-operative bank. And during emergency he was arrested and tortured by police. He got elected to the Kerala Legislative Assembly in 1970. He was re-elected in 1977, 1991 and 1996. He was the Minister for Electric power and Co-operatives in the E.K. Nayanar ministry from 1996 to 1998. In 1998 he became CPI(M) state secretary. He was elected to the politburo of CPI(M) in 2002.[2]

Positions held[edit]

  • Was the state president and secretary of Kerala Student's Federation and president of Kerala State Youth Federation (KSYF).
  • Served as president of Kerala State Co-operat
  • Elected to Kerala Legislative Assembly in 1970, 1977, 1991 and 1996.
  • Served as minister in Kerala government between 1996 and 1998.
  • Secretary of the Kerala state committee of the CPI(M) since 1998.
  • Member of the CPI(M) politburo from 2002.

Disciplinary action[edit]

On May 26, 2007 the CPI(M) suspended Pinarayi Vijayan and V. S. Achuthanandan from the politburo for their public remarks on each other. The central committee has approved the politburo's decision to suspend them. It concluded that open criticism against each other aired by the two leaders had "violated the norms of the party". Pinarai was reinstated as members of the Politburo later.[3]

SNC Lavlin scandal[edit]

The SNC Lavalin controversy in Kerala is a major allegation that rocked Kerala politics. The Comptroller and Auditor General of India report said that the deal Vijayan had struck as electricity minister in 1998 with Lavalin, a Canadian firm, for the repair of three generators, was a huge fraud and had cost the state exchequer a staggering Rs 3.76 billion. On 16 January 2007, Kerala High Court ordered a CBI enquiry into the SNC Lavalin case.[4] On 21 January 2009, CBI filed a progress report on the investigation in the Kerala high court. Pinarayi Vijayan has been named as the 9th accused in the case.[5][6] 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.[6] The CPM led Kerala Government decided not to let Vijayan to be prosecuted in the case.[7] Overruling the cabinet recommendation, the Governeor allowed CBI to prosecute Vijayan based on prima facie evidence.[8][9] 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.[10][11][12][13] With Kerala Governor's recommendation to prosecute Vijayan in the SNC Lavalin case, he became the first Politburo member in the CPI(M) history to be prosecuted in a corruption case.[14]


In November 5, 2013, the CBI special court has 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.

Acquittal in the case came as a major relief for Vijayan and would mark the beginning of a crucial phase in CPM politics. Although the CPI(M ) had termed the case politically-motivated, the scandal had eclipsed Vijayan's bid to enter parliamentary politics. The judgement further strengthened his position in the party.[15]


  • On February 16, 2007 the air port security in Chennai Airport recovered five bullets from Vijayan's baggage. The Chennai airport security had let him off after receiving a faxed copy of his license.[16]
  • The stand-off between the CPI(M) and the Catholic Church in Kerala took another nasty turn with CPM state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan demanding that the church withdraw a controversial pastoral letter issued recently. The letter had 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 can charge fees and capitation without government intervene.[17]
  • On 16 October 2007, Pinarayi had called Paul Chitilapally, the bishop of Thamarassery in Kerala, as a "wretched creature" for his lie. He was speaking at a memorial remembrance of Mathai Chacko, MLA from Thamarassery and a CPM 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 CPM leadership for his comments against the bishop. However, he repeated the same and stuck to his comments he had mentioned. 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.[18][19]


  1. ^ "CPI(M) cadres happy with Pinarayi's re-election". Chennai, India: The Hindu. 24 February 2005. 
  2. ^ a b "Pinarayi Vijayan". Retrieved 13 Jan 2014. 
  3. ^ "Achuthanandan, Pinarayi Vijayan suspended". Chennai, India: The Hindu. 27 May 2007. 
  4. ^ "Kearala to go by HC order in Lavalin case". The Hindu Business Line. 
  5. ^ "CBI finds Pinarayi guilty in Lavalin scam, moralistic CPM yet to act". The Economic Times. 22 Jan 2009. Retrieved 18 Nov 2010. 
  6. ^ a b "CBI seeks nod to prosecute CPM’s Kerala unit chief". The Indian Express. 22 Jan 2009. 
  7. ^ "Kerala govt not to prosecute Vijayan in Lavlain case". The Times of India. 6 May 2009. 
  8. ^ "Governor allows CBI to prosecute Vijayan". The Times of India. 8 June 2009. 
  9. ^ "CBI gets Governor nod to book Pinarayi". The Indian Express. 8 June 2009. 
  10. ^ "Kerala CM says governor not wrong, riles CPM". Times of India. 11 Jun 2009. 
  11. ^ "Rift in Kerala unit of CPIM widens". Business Standard. 19 June 2009. 
  12. ^ "Time for party to come to aid of Lavalin accused". Indian Express. 8 July 2009. 
  13. ^ "Vijayan fund". Telegraphindia. 25 June 2009. 
  14. ^ "CBI gets Governor nod to book Pinarayi". The Indian Express. 8 June 2009. 
  15. ^ Philip, Shaju (5 Nov 2013). "Pinarayi Vijayan, 6 others discharged in Lavalin case". The Indian Express. Retrieved 7 Dec 2013. 
  16. ^ "Act against Pinarayi: Chandy". The Hindu. 20 February 2007. 
  17. ^ "Pinarayi wants pastoral letter retracted". Gulf News. 
  18. ^ "Unfazed Pinarayi continues to attack bishop". The Economic Times. 17 October 2007. 
  19. ^ "Do not vitiate social climate, says Pinarayi". The Hindu. 17 October 2007.