Kerala Kaumudi Online
Tuesday, 05 July 2022 11.52 AM IST

Last-minute twist: KK Shailaja dropped, newcomers announced as ministers in second Pinarayi cabinet


THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: With the CPM making a last-minute decision to drop KK Shailaja from the cabinet, the second Pinarayi government will come to power with 17 newcomers in the 21-member cabinet. The new cabinet consists of a mix of youth and experience, besides giving adequate representation to women, caste, communities and religion.

Shailaja's way to the cabinet was closed after the decision of a new team except Pinarayi was approved. The team consists of three women - all first time ministers. They include two from the CPI-M - journalist-turned-two-time legislator Veena George, who is the wife of present CPI-M Secretary A. Vijayaraghavan, college professor R. Bindu and J. Chinchurani, the first woman from the CPI, after the Communist Party split in 1964.

The entire team will be sworn in on Thursday in Thiruvananthapuram by Governor Arif Mohammed Khan at 3.30 pm.

The biggest surprise in the 21-member team was Vijayan showing that he is the ultimate boss, by leaving out even acclaimed Health Minister K.K.Shailaja as he inducted all new faces from his Communist Party of India-Marxist.

Apart from the Chief Minister and K Radhakrishnan, the other ten members of the CPM are newcomers. A minister in the 1996-2001 E.K.Nayanar cabinet, Radhakrishnan was Speaker from 2006-11 when V.S. Achuthanandan was the Chief Minister.

Then there are P. Rajiv and K.N. Balagopal, both in their early fifties and have been members of the Rajya Sabha, and then there is the seasoned Central Committee member M.V. Govindan, who hails from Kannur and is seen as the right-hand man of Vijayan.

V.N.Vasavan, Saji Cherian and V. Sivankutty are proven organisers and have proved their mettle in the party.

The dark horse in the cabinet is Vijayan's son-in-law P.A. Mohammed Riyaz, who is also the national President of the CPI-M's youth wing, DYFI. Riyaz, 43, is also the youngest member of the cabinet. The Speaker's post has gone to two-time CPI-M Lok Sabha member MB Rajesh.
Although initial reports had claimed that both Shailaja and AC Moideen may get second terms, the CPM decided not to include them in the cabinet as it assessed that granting exemptions to only a few would make others feel ineligible.

Another Muslim face in Vijayan's second government is V. Abdurahiman, of the National Secular Conference, a party which has the blessings of the CPI-M but is formally not an ally.

From the Communist Party of India, all four nominees - Chinchurani, P. Prasad, G.R. Anil and K. Rajan - are new faces.

While Rajan was the chief whip in the outgoing assembly, the other three are first time legislators.

From the Janata Dal-S, there is seasoned veteran K. Krishnankutty and from the NCP, it is another veteran A.K. Saseendran. Both were Ministers in the outgoing Vijayan cabinet.

New ally Kerala Congress-Mani's nominee is Roshy Augustine, a five-time legislator. The party was a member of the Congress-led UDF, before switching over to the Left Democratic Front last year.

Antony Raju of the Democratic Kerala Congress is also a veteran politician hailing from the coastal village in the capital city and a popular face. He had been a legislator during 1996 to 2001.

Then there is Ahamed Devarkoil from the Indian National League, an ally of the Left, and given a cabinet post for the first time.

The Deputy Speaker's post has gone to senior CPI legislator Chitayem Gopakumar and the Chief Whip's post goes to Kerala Congress-M's four-time legislator N.Jayaraj.

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