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Chelat Achutha Menon

(1913 – 1991) – (Kerala)

Chelat Achutha Menon (Aged 78), born on January 13, 1913, served as the Chief Minister of Kerala for two terms. His first term was from November 1, 1969, to August 1, 1970, and his second term was from October 4, 1970, to March 25, 1977. Menon played a key role in initiating several institutions and development projects in Kerala. He was the first politician to hold the position of Chief Minister of Kerala for two consecutive terms. Menon led the United Front to a resounding electoral victory in Kerala, at a time when the Congress party was defeated in other parts of India.

After completing his B.L. degree, Menon began practicing law in various courts in Thrissur, during which time he became involved in many social issues. Menon became a Member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of India and a member of its Executive Committee and Central Secretariat. He continued his political activities even when the Communist Party was banned, and was imprisoned for many years. The first time Menon was imprisoned was in 1940, for making an anti-war speech, and the second time was during the “Quit India” movement on August 9, 1942, when he was detained for over a year.

In 1957, the Communist Party won the elections, and Kerala became the second state in the world in which the Communist Party came to power through the ballot paper. Achutha Menon was also elected to the Kerala Legislative Assembly. He was sworn in as Chief Minister on November 1, 1969, and is considered to be one of the best Chief Ministers Kerala has ever had.

Menon initiated many institutions for the industrialization and inclusive development of Kerala. Over 50 institutions were started in the fields of science, technology, public health, planning, housing, education, social sciences, geology, forest protection, water management, and environment conservation, among others. Menon was a talented writer and authored many books and articles, mostly related to Marxism, Communism, and Indian history. He passed away on August 16, 1991.