Pinarayi Vijayan Government 2.0 Mix Of Youth And Experience
Thiruvananthapuram: Returning to an unprecedented second term in power, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Tuesday unveiled his new team, which jettisons all sitting ministers from his CPI-M, and consists of a mix of youth and experience, besides giving adequate representation to women, caste, communities and religion.
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 here at the Central Stadium 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.
Former Speaker K. Radhakrishnan, who now becomes a minister, is from Scheduled Caste community. A minister in the 1996-2001 E.K.Nayanar cabinet, he 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 married Vijayan’s daughter Veena Vijayan last year. It was the second marriage for both.
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 Speaker’s post has gone to two-time CPI-M Lok Sabha member M.P. Rajesh, whose stock fell when he lost the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. He was further in trouble when an allegation surfaced recently in the way how his wife managed to get a teaching job, but he emerged triumphant in the Assembly polls.
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.