The first session of the 15th Kerala Assembly will be held on May 24 and 25. The Cabinet meeting held after the swearing-in ceremony of the second Pinarayi Vijayan government on May 20, Thursday, had decided to recommend to the Governor to convene the first session of the 15th Legislative Assembly on May 24 and 25.
The 15th Legislative Assembly stands out in many ways. Pinarayi is the first Chief Minister in the state to assume power for the second consecutive term. For the opposition led by the Congress, there has been a change in the top post from the Oommen Chandy and Ramesh Chennithala era as the Congress high command on May 22 appointed VD Satheesan as the opposition leader. In the previous 14th Assembly, Ramesh Chennithala was the opposition leader.
The CPI(M) headed Left Democratic Front had a resounding victory in the state Assembly elections held in April. The alliance has won 99 out of the total 140 seats while the Congress-led United Democratic Front managed to win 41 seats only.
The second Pinarayi ministry has replaced ministers from the CPI(M) who were in the Cabinet in the first term with new faces. The party's decision to exclude KK Shailaja, the health minister in the outgoing cabinet who had won much acclaim for handling the COVID-19 situation, had attracted widespread criticism. Now, in the second term, Shailaja has been chosen as the CPI(M) Chief Whip. Pinarayi’s new Cabinet has three women ministers — R Bindu, Veena George, and J Chinchu Rani.
While Veena George is the new Health Minister, Bindu is the minister for Higher Education and Chinchu Rani has been given the portfolios of Animal Husbandry and Dairy Development. Both Bindu and Veena George are from the CPI(M) while Chinchu Rani is a leader of the CPI, the second largest constituent of the LDF.
The presence of KK Rema, the leader of the Revolutionary Marxist Party, who won from the Vadakara seat will be another notable presence in the Assembly. Rema's late husband TP Chandrasekharan was a CPI(M) leader who had floated the RMP in 2009 after breaking away from the CPI(M). TP was killed in 2012 in which three CPI(M) leaders have also been convicted.