CPI(M) veteran Pinarayi Vijayan, who led the Left Democratic Front (LDF) to an unprecedented consecutive victory in the April 6 assembly polls, on Thursday took oath as Chief Minister of Kerala for the second time along with 20 ministers. Governor Arif Mohammed Khan administered the oath of office to 77-year-old Vijayan and ministers in a low-key function at the Central Stadium here, which was held completely in accordance with the COVID protocol.
While 15 ministers including the chief minister took oath in the name of the Indian Constitution, five took it in the name of God. Representative of the Indian National League in the CPI(M)-led ministry, Ahamed Devarkovil, took oath in the name of Allah. The ceremony began after the Governor reached the venue at 3.30 pm and concluded at 4.50 pm.
Took the oaths of office and secrecy, as the Chief Minister of Kerala. Together, let us realise a people’s alternative, and build a Nava Keralam! pic.twitter.com/zMnm0VsJQa— Pinarayi Vijayan (@vijayanpinarayi) May 20, 2021
Congratulating Vijayan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted: “Congratulations to Shri @vijayanpinarayi Ji on taking oath as CM and commencing his second term in office," It is the Marxist veteran’s second stint in the top office.
Opposition Congress-UDF leaders skipped the function in view of the COVID-19 spread. Ahead of the swearing-in, senior Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala telephoned Vijayan to congratulate him over the formation of the new ministry.
He informed Vijayan that the UDF representatives will watch the ceremony virtually in view of the spread of coronavirus. The Kerala High Court on Wednesday directed the government to restrict the number of participants at the function in view of the pandemic.
Portfolios have been alloted to the ministers and all eyes were on who will be getting the health portfolio after k k shailaja.
K k shailaja, the former health minister who did exemplary work in her handling of the Nipah and covid crisis was not included in the cabinet. CPIM had said that it is a policy decesion of the CPIM to not include minister’s from the earlier term to give fresh faces a chance.
Veena George, MLA from Aranmula has been given the health portfolio along with women and child welfare. Veena George is a journalist turned politician and is an MLA from Aranmula constituency. She is being handled the portfolio at a time when covid cases are high and it will be a huge challenge to fill the shoes of K K Shailaja.
Funds through KIIFB has been used for majority of the development activities in the state. The portfolio that was handled by Dr T M .Thomas Issac will now be handled by K N Balagopal,the MLA from kottarakara constituency. Balagopal had proved his metal as a parlamentarian during his stint in the Rajya Sabha. The challenge before him is Alos huge as Thoma Issac , was Alos leading the fight nationally when it comes to GST and allied issues.
Among the 21 member cabinet there are three women minister’s . K chinchurani is the first women minister from CPI after the party’s spilt in 1964 . She will be handling Animal Husbandry, Dairy Development, Milk Co-operatives Zoos, Kerala Veterinary & Animal Sciences University
Professor R bindhu is the minister of higher education. She was a former mayor of Thrissur corporation.
Even as pinarayi Vijayan has inducted a younger cabinet with a lot of fresh faces some have raised allegations of nepotism against him.
Advocate Mohammed Riyas, DYFI national president and CPIM state committee member who is also CM’S son-in-law has been given the PWD and tourism portfolio.
Responding to allegations of nepotism CPIM general secretary sitar yechury said, “the allegation is unfortunate. Riyas was all India president of DYFI before he became CM’s son in law. Cm did not make him all India president he was made because of his contribution and performance as a youth leader. The other issue one can raise is of r bindhu. She was in the SFI from my time itself , she has done great work as Thrissur mayor. Just because they marry someone or marry into some family. It is like saying you have no right to marry someone with whom you have been working for so many years."