Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan is unlikely to celebrate his 76th birthday on Sunday. He is busy leading the efforts to check the spread of COVID-19. His firm grip on the situation has made the people of Kerala more confident in this hard time when the entire world is petrified by the novel coronavirus.
Pinarayi Vijayan’s birthday will be immediately followed by the fourth anniversary of the government he leads. He has already said that there will be no celebrations to mark the anniversary given the pandemic.
When Pinarayi Vijayan lowers his mask to apprise the people of the COVID-19 situation in his daily press briefing, the entire state tunes in to the televised address. His signature style is evident throughout, right up to the switching off of the microphone at the strike of an hour.
His previous birthday came under the shadow of a devastating defeat for his party and the alliance in the Lok Sabha election. A year down the line, he has reasons to be more confident about his leadership. Four years ago, on the eve of his swearing-in as the chief minister on May 25, he dramatically said it was his birthday. Until then it was believed to be on March 24.
That was hardly surprising. Many things about the veteran leader remains a mystery to many people. He is described as a magnetic leader by his admirers and as a vengeful politician by his detractors. Ask him about the conflicting opinions and he would say that it takes time for people to understand him. He said he was happy as long as the party did not misunderstand him.
Pinarayi Vijayan, who led the CPM’s Kerala unit as a state secretary for a record 15-year term, is the only remaining chief minister of the party in the country. He has proved to be an excellent brand for the Left for his effective handling of the pandemic.