Kerala: Vijayan Drops Shailaja, Includes son-in-law in New Team

True to his style of being the last word in the CPM and in the government, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan delivered a beamer on Tuesday when, much to the surprise and dismay of many, he dropped acclaimed Health Minister K. K. Shailaja from his new cabinet and gave a ministerial post to his son-in-law P. A. Mohammed Riyaz.

The 21-member cabinet includes 12 from the CPM, four from the CPI, one each from the Kerala Congress (M), NCP and Janata Dal(S) and one each from two allies which will be shared between the four allies, each having one legislator.

Loktantrik Janata Dal is the only ally which did not get a cabinet post.

The announcement has come as a shock to many in the party and outside but all that Shailaja said was that she is a disciplined party worker and will abide by the party’s decision.

All the other names were on expected lines. The list includes former Rajya Sabha members P. Rajiv and K. N. Balagopal. The women in the team include R. Bindu, a college professor and wife of the present CPM secretary A. Vijayaraghavan, and journalist-turned-two-time legislator Veena George.

The others include Vijayan’s closest aide, who in all likelihood will be the number two — M. Govindan, who hails from Kannur, Saji Cherian, former State Minister, and also former Speaker K. Radhakrishnan who was elected from a scheduled caste constituency in Thrissur district.

V. Sivankutty was also a certainty as he was the one who defeated strong BJP candidate Kummanem Rajasekheran for the Nemom seat in the state capital, which he lost to BJP veteran O. Rajagopal in the 2016 assembly polls.

Then there is V. Abdurahiman who has come from the Muslim- dominated Malappuram district, who, however, belongs to the National Secular Conference, a party which has the blessings of the CPM but not an ally.

V. N. Vasavan is another leader from the CPM, a known loyalist of Vijayan who has been given a ministerial post.

Two-time Lok Sabha member M. B. Rajesh, who lost the 2019 Lok Sabha polls from Palakkad, has been selected for the Speaker’s post.

Meanwhile, reports have surfaced that the national leadership of the CPM have expressed their displeasure over the exclusion of Shailaja and the social media is also abuzz after the development and the way she was given a raw deal.

However outgoing State Power Minister and CPM veteran M.M. Mani said it’s the party which decides who should be what and all should know that there are so many leaders in their party and the party’s decision is final.


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