Thiruvananthapuram: True to his style of being the last word in the CPI-M and also in the government, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan delivered a beamer on Tuesday when he, much to the surprise and dismay of many, dropped the acclaimed Health Minister K.K. Shailaja from his new cabinet, while he gave a ministerial post to his son-in-law P.A. Mohammed Riyaz.
The 21-member cabinet includes 12 from the CPI-M, 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.
It was Loktantrik Janata Dal, the only ally which did not get a cabinet post. It has come as a shock to many in the party and outside and all what Shailaja said was, she is a disciplined party worker and will abide by the party’s decision.
All the other names were on expected lines and there was only one norm and that was unflinching loyalty to Vijayan and it includes, former Rajya Sabha members P. Rajiv and K.N. Balagopal, the women include R. Bindu, a college professor and more importantly the wife of the present CPI-M secretary A. Vijayaraghavan besides journalist turned two time legislator Veena George.
The others include Vijayan’s closest aide and in all likelihood will be the number two — M. Govindan who hails from Kannur, besides, 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 at 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, however belongs to the National Secular Conference a party which has the blessings of the CPI-M but not an ally. V.N. Vasavan is another leader from the CPI-M, 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 CPI-M 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 CPI-M 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, he said, when asked why he was not given a second term.